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Definition of marriage as a social institution, pp. 3-5. The institution of 
marriage probably based on a primeval habit necessary for the existence 
of the species, p. 5 sq. Relations between the sexes and parental care 
among birds, p. 6. Among various mammals, p. 6. ~The family 
consisting of parents and offspring among the anthropoid apes and the 
smaller monkeys, p. 6 sq. The need of marital and paternal protection 
among the anthropoid apes, p. 7. The family consisting of parents and 
children with the father as its protector presumably, for similar reasons, 
necessary to primitive man as a condition of survival, p. 7 sq. Its 
existence among all peoples known to us, pp. 7, 19. The transition 
of a habit into a genuine custom or social institution, p. 8. Marriage 
rooted in the family rather than the family in marriage, p. 8 sq. 
Dr. Zuckerman's explanation of the origin of the family among the 
primates, pp. 9-14. His denial of a sexual season among monkeys, 
pp. 9-12. The author's hypothesis of a human pairing season in 
primitive times, p. 9. Criticism of the theory of a primitive stage 
of promiscuity in mankind, pp. 14-16. Of the assumption that the 
earliest form of marriage was a so-called group-marriage, pp. 16-18. 
Of Dr. Briffault's supposition that the earliest human assemblages 
have been Derived from " the animal family ", which is the product of 
the maternal instincts alone, p. 18 sq. The influence exercised by 
theories concerning the earliest form of sexual relations in mankind 
upon speculations as to the future of marriage and the family, p. 19 sq. 
The general cause to which the author has traced the origin of the 
family having ceased to operate, the family no longer necessary for 
the survival of the species, p. 20. 


The primary object of marriage has always been sexual union, p. 21. The 
role played by the aspect of procreation among savages, p. 21 sq. 
Among the peoples of archaic civilisation, p. 22 sq. In the Christian 
world, p. 23 sq. Views on contraception, pp. 24-26. The desire for 
children, pp. 26-29. Conjugal affection, pp. 29-31. The unity and 



transfusion of spiritual and bodily elements in sexual love, p. 31 sq. 
Sexual love not necessarily aiming at the supreme satisfaction of the 
sexual impulse, p. 32 sq. The role played by material aspects in 
marriage and economic considerations at the conclusion of it, pp. 
33~3- The three essential elements in a normal marriage the 
gratification of the sexual impulse, the community of life between 
husband and wife, and the procreation of children are all sources of 
much happiness ; but may also be quite the reverse, p. 36 sq. 



Different estimates of the prevalence of happy and unhappy marriages, 
pp. 38-40. Answers elicited by questionnaires in the United States, 
pp. 40-42. In Russia, p. 43 sq. Relative or absolute impotence of 
the husband and frigidity of the wife highly important causes of marital 
discord, p. 43. The frigidity of the wife due to the husband's lack of 
skill or,xonsideration, or to his ignorance, p. 43 sq. Married women 
left cold or unsatisfied because their husbands give no heed to the fact 
that in coitus the orgasm tends to occur more slowly in women than 
in men, p. 44 sq. The woman to be courted before every act of coition, 
p. 45 sq. The first night of marriage a particularly critical occasion, 
pp. 46-48. A periodical ebb and flow of sexual desire, determined by 
the monthly cycle, said to be the rule in women and to influence the 
marriage relation, p. 48. Sexual incompatibility due to the ignorance 
of the wife, pp. 48-50. Marital unhappiness diminished by increased 
enlightenment, p. 50 sq. Marriage endangered by the deceitfulness 
of the sexual impulse, p. 51 sq. Love-matches, especially early ones, 
easily come to grief, p. 52 sq. Suitability rather than sexual passion 
regarded as the best foundation for marriage, p. 53 sq. Disturbance in 
married life caused by the sexual instinct's taste for variety, pp. 54-56. 
Attempts to gratify the desire for variety within the matrimonial 
boundary, p. 56 sq. The craving for variety counteracted by conjugal 
love, p. 57. 


The relations between husband and wife not always seriously disturbed by 
adultery, pp. 58-61. Among ourselves adultery said rarely to be the 
real ground for divorce, p. 61 sq. In humanity at large unfaithfulness 
on the part of the wife the most general recognised ground of divorce, 
whereas unfaithfulness on the part of the husband very frequently 
gives the wife no right to divorce him, pp. 62-65. The European 
legislation with regard to divorce revolutionised by Christianity, p. 64. 
Protestant opinions and laws relating to adultery as a ground of 
divorce, p. 64. French laws concerning divorce, p. 65. A difference 
between the infidelity of a husband and that of a wife similar to that 
made with regard to divorce also found in the penalties attached to 


adultery, though a man who commits adultery with another man's 
wife may have to suffer, p. 66 sq. The idea that fidelity m marriage 
ought to be reciprocal, however, not unknown in classical antiquity, 
p. 67 sq. No distinction between husband and wife made by Christi- 
anity in its condemnation of adultery, p. 68. Yet in some Christian 
countries a distinction between the adultery of a husband and that of 
a wife made by the law, apart from the rules relating to divorce or 
separation, p. 68 sq. In modern legislation adultery, if punishable at 
all, generally an indictable offence, p. 68 sq. Why a married man en- 
joys more liberty than a married woman, p. 69 sq. The points of 
difference emphasised by various writers, p. 70 sq. The disharmony 
caused by infidelity might be tempered by a more careful consideration 
of the case, p. 71 sq. The apparently innocent party may be found to 
be the true cause of the transgression, p. 72. An unreasonable claim 
that the eternal troth which the two lovers once swore to each other 
should be an irrevocable pledge in all circumstances, p. 72 sq. The 
opinion that men should be freed from the duty of sexual conjugal 
fidelity, but have the duty of controlling jealousy, pp. 73, 74, 79. 
Opinions about jealousy, pp. 73-76. Jealousy deeply rooted in animal 
nature, p. 76. Its prevalence among uncivilised races, p. 76 sq. 
Sexual jealousy in all its forms an angry feeling aroused by the loss, or 
fear of the loss, of the exclusive possession of an individual who is the 
object of one's sexual desire, and presumably hardly less 1'fcely to dis- 
appear than the feeling of anger itself, p. 77 sq. Infidelity as a cause of 
sorrow, p. 78 sq. 


Frictions liable to aVise from the community of life between husband and 
wife, pp. 80-94. Largely due to an unfortunate choice of partner, 
pp. 80-88. Matrimonial unhappiness caused by the lack of a common 
interest, pp. 80-83. Marriages between college students more suc- 
cessful than marriages generally, p. 82. A risky experiment to marry 
into a social class which is considerably lower than one's own, p. 83. 
Marital unhappiness caused by disagreement on vital questions, p. 84. 
By difference of religion, p. 84. By incompatibility of temperament, 
p. 85. The harmony between temperaments need not be perfect, 
p. 85. The charm of disparity, pp. 85-87. Happiness in marriage 
influenced by the comparative age of the partners, p. 87 sq. By the 
economic situation of the family, p. 88 sq. The influence of an extra- 
domestic vocation of the wife, pp. 89-91. Frictions due to the in- 
dividualistic tendencies and other factors characteristic of our time, 
p. 91 sq. To the emancipation of women, p. 92 sq. Married life may 
smooth down when the memory of wrongs suffered by women in the 
past has faded and certain feminine traits may again demand their due 
in full, p. 93. Elements in the sexual instinct that are apt to lead to 
domination on the part of the man and to submission on the part of 
the woman, p. 93 sq. In many cases children, for various reasons, 
no unmixed blessing in conjugal life, p. 94 sq. The trouble arising from 
them exaggerated by certain writers, pp. 95-98. Frictions between 
parents and children increased by the emancipation of the child, but 
likely to abate, p. 98. Birth-control may save marriage from much 
harm, p. 98 sq. If carried to excess, however, may be bad for the family. 


p. 99 5*7. Arguments adduced against it in all circumstances, p. 100 sq. 
Those who condemn it defending a lost cause, p. 101 . Opinions about 
the demand of health certificates before marriage, p. 101 sq. Consulta- 
tion bureaus intended to give medical advice before marriage, p. 103. 



Trial marriage a useful pre-marital experience, p. 104. Practised by 
savage peoples, p. 104 sq. In Europe, p. 105 sq. Unions having the 
character of trial marriages widely practised also where they are not 
actually sanctioned by custom, p. 106 sq. Proposals that such unions 
should be recognised by public opinion or even by law, pp. 107-109. The 
so-called companionate marriage, described and discussed, pp. 1 09-1 13. 
Quite hopeless to expect that any modern law would recognise a pro- 
bationary union as a particular lower form of marriage, p. 113 sq. 
But law may incorporate its advantages by making divorce as easy as 
the dissolution of such a union, p. 144. Unregistered marriages, p. 
114 sq. Proposals advocating the legal recognition of marriages con- 
tracted for a certain definite period, pp. 115-117. Such marriages 
found among several peoples, p. 117 sq. Advantages offered by them 
in certain circumstances, p. 118. But among ourselves temporary 
marriages, indissoluble during the period for which they were con- 
tracted, would deprive both parties of a right granted to all other 
married people, p. 118 sq. A legally recognised concubinage existing 
side by side with marriage as an alternative more suitable for certain 
persons, p. 119 sq. It would imply the restoration of an ancient 
European institution, p. 120 sq. Where the legislation concerning 
divorce is prohibitive concubinage has a useful function to fulfil, 
whereas a sufficiently liberal divorce law makes it superfluous, p. 122. 


Pre-marital sexual intercourse considered to be a desirable prelude to 
marriage also on account of the general erotic experience provided by 
it, p. 123. In order to be really useful for a man he should in any case 
receive such experience from a woman belonging more or less to his 
own class, p. 123 sq. The prevalence of such a practice, p. 124 sq. 
Facts which do not support the contention that pre-marital sex ex- 
perience on the part of men is conducive to marital happiness, p. 125. 
Pre-marital sex relations even of a promiscuous kind said to exercise 
a favourable influence upon marriage by delaying it, p. 125 sq. Their 
disadvantages, pp. 126-150. Illegitimate childbirth causing injuries 
both to the mother and to the offspring, pp. 126-130. The Christian 
attitude towards extra-matrimonial connections and its consequences, 
pp. 130-132. A double standard of pre-marital chastity, one for men 


and another for women, popularly accepted but also criticised, especi- 
ally by feminists and socialists, pp. 131-135. Explanations given of its 
origin, pp. 135-137. The demand for virginity in the bride found 
in the savage world, pp. 137-139. The social condemnation of pre- 
nuptial unchastity in women obviously due to the preference which 
a man gives to a virgin bride, p. 139. Causes of this preference, p. 139. 
Loss of virginity regarded as an offence against the family of the girl, 
p. 139 sq. Dangers attending the loss of virginity, pp. 140-142, 146- 
148. Peculiarities of the sexual impulse in woman, pp. 141-150. 
Love occupying a larger place in a woman's mind than in a man's, 
pp. 141-143. The intensity of her love, p. 142 sq. The purely sensual 
element in it less marked than the spiritual side, particularly in feminine 
love of a higher type, pp. 143-147. Benefits that the men would derive 
from equal freedom for men and women, p. 148. Women not attracted 
to virginal innocence in men on account of an instinct inherent in their 
sex, pp. 148-150. 


The increasing divorce-rate in Europe and the United States looked upon 
as an alarming omen, p. 151. No evidence of the conclusion that the 
increase will continue indefinitely, p. 152. Increasing divorce-rates 
do not spell ruin to marriage, p. 152. Far from being the enemy of 
marriage, divorce rather its saviour, p. 152. Mostly due to an un- 
fortunate choice of partner or to a wish to marry someone else, p. 152 sq. 
The decrease of the marriage-rate, and the rise of the age at which 
people marry, in various European countries, p. 153. Causes of it 
that will presumably be less effective in the future, p. 154. The great 
frequency of extra-matrimonial intercourse regarded as an indication 
of the doom of marriage, p. 154 sq. Purely sexual relations no sub- 
stitutes for those more comprehensive relations between men and 
women which, under the name of marriage, constitute a social institu- 
tion of great importance, p. 155. The community of life in a common 
home due to attachment which from the beginning kept the individuals 
of different sex together till after the birth of the offspring, p. 155 sq. 
Suggested substitutes for it, p. 156. Plato's notion of the community 
of wives and children, p. 157. Tendencies among modern socialists, 
p. 157 sq. Profound change in the status of children in the course of 
evolution, p. 158. The State supposed to assume in the future nearly 
all the functions of parenthood, p. 158 sq. The belief that it would 
benefit the child, p. 159. Contradicted by recent findings on the effects 
of institutional life on the child, pp. 159-162. Experience in Soviet 
Russia of the injurious effects of the lack of family influence both upon 
orphans and older children, p. 162 sq. The love of man and woman 
for each other and for their children the safest guarantee for the per- 
sistence of the family, p. 163 sq. The nature of the maternal instinct, 
pp. 164-166. Of the paternal instinct, p. 166 sq. The custom of 
infanticide no evidence of the lack of parental instincts, pp. 167-169. 
The prediction that the maternal instinct will disappear, p. 169 sq. 
The persistence of marriage conducive to individual welfare and ap- 
parently indispensable to the social order, p. 170 sq. 



Monogamy not always the exclusive form of marriage in the Christian 
world, polygyny and even group-marriage being found there, pp. 172- 
175. Opinions that polygyny should, or will in the future, be a legally 
recognised form of marriage, pp. 175-179. The experience of its 
causes in countries where it exists, pp. 180-183. The main reasons 
why a man may desire to have more than one wife, pp. 181-183. 
Circumstances that make for monogamy, pp. 183-187. Elements in 
sexual love that tend to make men inclined to restrict themselves to one 
wife, at least for some time, p. 186 sq. The man's absorbing love of 
one may sooner or later be suppressed by his desire for change, p. 187 sq. 
The man's taste for variety in sex experience being generally more 
intense than the woman's a reason for representing him as instinctively 
polygamous, p. 188 sq. The question whether it is possible for any 
one to be simultaneously in love with several individuals, p. 189 sq. 
The suppression of polygamous tendencies, pp. 190-192. While the 
absorbing passion for one may be supposed to have become more 
pronounced in the course of civilisation, owing to the increasing im- 
portance of the spiritual element in love, the greater differentiation and 
multiplicity of sexual stimuli have also increased the desire for variety, 
p. 192. For various reasons improbable that polygyny, if legalised, 
would be indulged in by any considerable number of men, p. 192. 
Polygyny generally practised only by a small minority of the men in 
countries where it is permitted, p. 192 sq. Any proposal to legalise it 
destined to be rejected not only as being generally unwanted by the 
men, but also as being degrading to the women and contrary to public 
feelings, p. 193. Facts which show that advancement in civilisatign 
has been adverse to polygyny, p. 193 sq. The trend of marriage in pre- 
Christian Europe distinctly monogamous, p. 19^ sq. Concubinage 
of kings and princes, p. 195 sq. Woman often saicf to be monogamous 
by nature, or predominantly so, p. 196 sq. Different opinions, p. 
197 sq. From a purely physical point of view woman, in a way, more 
polygamous than man, p. 199. The suggestion that in the future 
polyandry will be recognised as a form of marriage needs no serious 
consideration, p. 199. The cicisbeism, once existing in Europe as a 
recognised custom, merely libertinism peculiar to^ an aristocratic 
clique, p. 199 sq. Although in the future people will probably be less 
tied by conventional rules, no radical legal modification of the mono- 
gamic order to be expected, p. 201. 


The Roman Catholic doctrine of the indissolubility of Christian marriage, 
pp. 202-204. Rejected by the Reformers, p. 204. Grounds of divorce 
according to modern law-books, pp. 204-207. Mutual consent recog- 
nised as a ground of divorce in earlier European legislation and by 
present European and American law-books, pp. 207-212. In countries 
of Eastern civilisation, p. 212 sq. An increase of the facilities of divorce 
the unequivocal trend of the changes in this branch of legislation, 


p. 213 sq. The rates of divorces not proportionate to the facility with 
which divorce may be obtained according to law, pp. 214-216. Thfe 
surest method of keeping down divorces to make them very costly, 
p. 216 sq. Costs of divorce in England, p. 217 sq. The interests of 
children adduced as an argument against facility of divorce, p. 218 sq. 
Reasons to believe that the trend to increase the facilities of divorce 
will continue in the future, and that mutual consent will sooner or later 
be generally recognised as a legal ground of divorce, pp. 219-221. 
Objections raised to divorce by mutual agreement, p. 221 sq. Pre- 
cautions to prevent a hasty step in connection with such divorce, 
p. 222 sq. Cheapness of it, p. 223. Suggestions that divorce should 
be obtainable at the desire of one of the parties, as in Soviet Russia, 
without a probationary period of separation preceding it, p. 223 sq. 
Suggestions that adultery in itself should be no legal ground of divorce, 
p. 224 sq. Unlikely to be realised, p. 226 sq. 


Why people in speaking of " morality " think chiefly of sex, p. 228. The 
Christian abhorrence of incontinence intimately connected with the 
idea that sexual intercourse is defiling and in certain circumstances a 
mysterious cause of evil, pp. 228-230. The attitude of the Church 
towards marriage and other sexual relations, p. 230 sq. Why sexual 
intercourse is looked upon as unclean and defiling, p. 231 sq. The 
ancient ideas have left behind feelings and views embedded in the 
traditional moral code, where they are mingled with the results of 
tendencies that have been ever active in the moulding of the moral 
consciousness, independently of religious or superstitious ideas, p. 
232 sq. All moral concepts ultimately based on one or the other of the 
two moral emotions, moral disapproval or moral approval, which are 
retributive emotions distinguished from other forms of resentment or 
retributive kindly emotion anger and the feeling of revenge, and 
gratitude by being disinterested and, at least within certain limits, 
impartial, p. 233 sq. That disinterestedness and impartiality have be- 
come characteristics of those emotions which we call moral emotions 
due to the fact that society was the birth-place of the moral conscious- 
ness, p. 234: We may feel disinterested resentment on account of an 
injury inflicted upon another individual with whose pain we sympathise 
and in whose welfare our altruistic sentiments cause us to take a kindly 
interest, pp. 234, 235, 237 sq. It may further be directly produced 
by the cognitions of signs of resentment in others, pp. 235, 236, 238 sq. 
It may, finally, arise from " disinterested antipathies ", or senti- 
mental aversions, which in no branch of morality have been allowed a 
greater scope than in that relating to sex, pp. 236, 237, 239-241. Such 
aversions play a dominant r61e in the condemnation of so-called sexual 
perversions, pp. 241, 243, 244, 252, 255. Auto-erotism, p. 241 sq. 
Bestiality, pp. 243-245. Christian attitude towards homosexual inter- 
course between men determined by ancient Hebrew ideas, p. 245 sq. 
European laws against it, p. 246. Attitudes towards it when no re- 
ligious influence has been operative, pp. 247-249, 252 sq. Homo- 
sexual practices of women, p. 249 sq. Philosophers' condemnation of 
masculine homosexuality, pp. 250-252. Certain circumstances that 
have affected the opinions about it, pp. 253-255. The frequency of 


homosexuality in the Western world, p. 253 sq. Bisexuality, p. 254. 
The moral judgment of homosexual practices likely to be influenced by 
a deepened insight into the nature of homosexuality, pp. 254-256. 
Incest, pp. 256-263. The author's theory of the origin of its prohibi- 
tion, pp. 256-261. The prohibition of marriage between the nearest 
relatives unlikely to be removed in the future, p. 261. Such marriages 
evidently attended with considerable danger to the offspring, pp. 

INDEX, PP . 273-281. 


RECENT years have been notable for an enormous litera- 
ture dealing with sex and marriage. A dominant note 
of it is the assertion that the rapid changes in all human 
relationships which characterise our age are particularly 
great in the relationships between the sexes. Marriage 
is said to be facing a crisis; and some writers even speak 
of its collapse or " bankruptcy ", and of " free love " 
taking its place. We are told that marriage no longer 
binds, no longer unites; that " the new casual way of 
seeing has modified all our traditional thinking on the 
subject of holy matrimony "; that the family has dis- 
integrated beyond repair; that home has become merely 
" a place to dine and die "; and that the time will come 
when marriage and the family have altogether ceased 
to exist. 

My earlier study of the history of marriage naturally 
gives me an additional interest in its future. It may be 
considered out of place for a sociologist to indulge in 
prognostications. But did not Comte say that we seek 
to know in order to foresee, that the final goal of science 
is to foretell future events? In any case, all our predic- 
tions must be based on facts that are known to us. 
How then are these facts to be utilised? It has been 
pointed out that, with regard to the relationships of 
the sexes, our knowledge of the lines of evolution in 
the past and of the tendencies at present is fruitful 
for the understanding of what is likely to happen 
in the future. But it may be misleading unless we 
also know the causes of those trends. In this respect 

i B 


the speculations on coming events must resemble 
those on prehistoric ones. In my History of Human 
Marriage I laid down the rule that we can postulate the 
ancient prevalence of certain phenomena only if we find 
out their causes and may assume that the latter have 
operated in the past without being checked by other 
causes. So also we can predict future occurrences, 
with some hope of success, only if we may assume that 
the causes of such occurrences will operate without 
being checked by other causes. 

This is the method which I am going to apply to my 
inquiry in this book. I shall deal with various aspects 
of marriage as they exist to-day, and by examining their 
causes try to find an answer to the question whether 
they are likely to survive or to undergo a change. Many 
of those causes cannot be properly understood without 
a knowledge of the past. Hence I shall repeatedly have 
to fall back upon my earlier researches in the history of 
marriage, when pondering over its future. 



IN the earlier editions of my History of Human Marriage 
I defined marriage as " a more or less durable connec- 
tion between male and female, lasting beyond the mere 
act of propagation till after the birth of the offspring ". 
This definition has been much criticised, and not with- 
out reason. We do not say that a man and a woman 
are married simply because they live together, have a 
child together, and remain together after its birth; and 
on the other hand, there are married couples who get 
no children at all. 

In the ordinary sense of the term, marriage is a 
social institution which may be defined as a relation of 
one or more men to one or more women that is recog- 
nised by custom or law, and involves certain rights and 
duties both in the case of the parties entering the union 
and in the case of the children born of it. These rights 
and duties vary among different peoples and cannot, 
therefore, all be included in a general definition; but 
there must, of course, be something that they have in 
common. Marriage always implies the right of sexual 
intercourse: society holds such intercourse allowable 
in the case of husband and wife, and, generally speaking, 
regards it as their duty to gratify in some measure the 
other partner's desire. But the right to sexual inter- 
course is not necessarily exclusive: there are poly- 
androus, polygynous, and group-marriages, and even 
where monogamy is the only legal form of marriage, 
adultery committed by the husband is not always 


recognised as a ground for dissolving the union. 

The sexual side of marriage is nearly always com- 
bined with the living together of husband and wife; 
a mediaeval adage says, " Boire, manger, coucher en- 
semble est mariage, ce me semble 'V Marriage is also 
an economic institution, which may in various ways 
affect the proprietary rights of the parties. Since 
ancient times it has been the husband's duty, so far as 
it is possible and necessary, to support his wife and 
children; but it may also be their duty to work for him. 
Even the Russian Soviet law, which does not compel 
either spouse to follow the other if the latter changes 
residence, recognises the economic aspect of marriage 
by prescribing that the husband shall support his wife 
and the wife her husband in case the other party is 
necessitous and unable to work. 2 

As a rule, the husband has some power over his wife 
and children, although his power over the children is 
in most cases of limited duration. Very often marriage 
determines the place that a newly born individual is to 
take in the social structure of the community to which 
he or she belongs; but this can scarcely* as has some- 
times been alleged, 3 be regarded as the chief and primary 
function of marriage, considering how frequently ille- 
gitimate children are treated exactly like legitimate ones 
with regard to descent, inheritance, and succession. 
It is, finally, necessary that the union, to be recognised 
as a marriage, should be concluded in accordance with 
the rules laid down by custom or law, whatever these 
rules may be. They may require the consent of the 

1 W. Schaffner, Geschichte der Rechtsverfassung Frankreichs, iii- 
(Frankfurt a. M., 1850), p. 186. 

2 D. M. Kauschansky, * Die personliche und wirtschaftliche Lage 
der Frau in der Ehe nach europaischem Recht ', in Zeitschrift fur 
Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xviii. (Berlin & Koln, 1932), 

PP- 379 4 8 4- 

3 W. H. R. Rivers, The History of Melanesian Society, ii. (Cam- 
bridge, 1914), p. 145. 


parties themselves or of their parents, or of both the 
parties and their parents. They may compel the man 
to give some consideration for his bride, or the parents 
of the latter to provide her with a dowry. They may 
prescribe the performance of a particular marriage 
ceremony of one kind or other. And no man and 
woman are regarded as husband and wife unless the 
conditions stipulated by custom or law are complied 

In the present treatise I shall throughout use the 
term " marriage " in its conventional sense, as the name 
for a social institution sanctioned by custom or law. 
At the same time I maintain that my earlier definition 
had a deep biological foundation, as applying to a rela- 
tion which exists among many species of animals as 
well as in mankind. I am of opinion that the institu- 
tion of marriage has most probably developed out of a 
primeval habit: that even in primitive times it was the 
habit for a man and a woman, or several women, to live 
together, to have sexual relations with each other, and 
to rear their offspring in common, the man being the 
guardian of the family and the woman his helpmate and 
the nurse of their children. This habit was sanctioned 
by custom, and afterwards by law, and was thus trans- 
formed into a social institution. 

Similar habits are found among many species of the 
animal kingdom, in which male and female remain 
together not only during the pairing season but till 
after the birth of the offspring. We may assume that 
the male is induced to stay with the female so long, even 
after the sexual relations have ceased, by an instinct 
which has been acquired through the process of natural 
selection, because it has a tendency to preserve the next 
generation and thereby the species. This is indicated 
by the fact that in such cases he not only stays with the 
female and young, but also takes care of them. Marital 
and paternal instincts, like maternal affection, seem to 


be necessary for the existence of certain species. This 
is the case with birds; among the large majority of them 
male and female keep together after the breeding season, 
and in very many species the parental instinct has 
reached a high degree of intensity on the father's side 
as well as on the mother's. Among mammals the young 
cannot do without their mother, who is consequently 
ardently concerned for their welfare, but in most of 
them the relations between the sexes are restricted to 
the pairing season. Yet there are also various species 
in which they are of a more durable character, and the 
male acts as a guardian of the family; indeed I have 
found that those species are considerably more numer- 
ous than I was aware of at the time when I first set forth 
my theqry. 1 To them belong the apes. According 
to most earlier accounts of the orang-utan only solitary 
old males, or females with young, or sometimes females 
and at other times males accompanied by half-grown 
young, had been met with; but more recently Volz 2 
and Munnecke 3 have definitely proved the existence 
of family associations with that ape, whereas it appar- 
ently never, or scarcely ever, congregates in larger 
groups. The social unit of the chimpanzee 4 and gorilla 5 
is the family; but several families may associate and 
then constitute a band or herd, in which a mature male 
acts as leader. 6 The family is asserted to be the nucleus 
of the society also among the smaller gregarious monkeys, 
never losing its identity within the herd; even the 
enormous herds of a species like the baboon consist of 

1 See my Three Essays on Sex and Marriage (London, 1934), 
p. 171 sqq. 

2 W. Volz, Nora-Sumatra, ii. (Berlin, 1912), p. 364. 

3 W. Munnecke, Mit Hagenbeck im Dschungel (Berlin, 1931), 
p. 77 sqq. 

4 Cf. R. M. and Ada W. Yerkes, The Great Apes (New Haven 
& London, 1929), p. 541. 

5 Cf. ibid. p. 541. 

6 Three Essays on Sex and Marriage, p. 181 sqq. 


numerous families banded together. 1 

In the case of the apes there are some obvious facts 
that may account for the need of marital and paternal 
protection. One is the small number of young: the 
female brings forth but one at a time. Another is the 
long period of infancy: the gibbon is said to achieve 
sexual maturity at five to eight years of age, the orang- 
utan and chimpanzee at eight to twelve, the gorilla at 
ten to fourteen. 2 Finally, none of these apes is per- 
manently gregarious; even in the Cameroons, where 
the gorilla is particularly sociable, the herd scatters over 
a fairly wide district in search of food. 3 These con- 
siderations are of importance for a discussion of the 
origin of the family in mankind. The family con- 
sisting of parents and children prevails aipong the 
lowest savages as well as among the most civilised races 
of men; and we may suppose that the factors which 
made marital and paternal relations indispensable for 
the apes also made them so for our earliest human or 
half-human ancestors. If, as most authorities main- 
tain, on the basis of morphological resemblances, man 
and apes have evolved from a common type, there is no 
doubt that in mankind, too, the number of children has 
always been comparatively very small, and that the 
period of infancy has always been comparatively very 
long; and it seems to me highly probable that with 
primitive man, as with the anthropoids, the large 
quantities of food which he required on account of his 
size were a hindrance to a permanently gregarious 
mode of life and therefore made family relations more 
useful for the preservation of the offspring. There are 

1 S, Zuckerman, The Social Life of Monkeys and Apes (London, 
1932), pp. 147, 212, 213, 314 sq.\ F. Doflein, Das Tier als Glied des 
Naturganzen (Leipzig & Berlin, 1914), pp. 692, 694. 

2 R. M. and Ada W. Yerkes, op. cit. p. 543. 

3 E. Reichenow, ' Biologische Beobachtungen an Gorilla und 
Schimpanse ', in Sitzungsbericht der Gesellschaft Naturforschendcr 
Freunde zu Berlin, no. i, 1920 (Berlin), p. 15 sqq. 


even now savages among whom the separate families 
often are compelled to give up the protection afforded 
them by living together, in order to find the food 
necessary for their subsistence, and may remain sepa- 
rated from the common group even for a considerable 
time; and this is the case not only in desolate regions 
where the supply of food is unusually scarce, but even 
in countries much more favoured by nature. 1 

I have so far spoken of habits, not of institutions. 
But there is an intimate connection between them. 
Social habits have a strong tendency to become true 
customs, that is, rules of conduct in addition to their 
being habits. A habit may develop into a genuine 
custom simply because people are inclined to dis- 
approve of anything which is unusual. But in the pre- 
sent case the transition from habit to custom has un- 
doubtedly a deeper foundation. If, as I maintain, 
men are induced by instincts to remain with a woman 
with whom they have had sexual relations and to take 
care of her and of their common offspring, other mem- 
bers of the group, endowed with similar instincts, 
would feel moral resentment against a man who forsook 
his mate and children. And, as I have pointed out in 
another work, public or moral resentment or disap- 
proval is at the bottom of the rules of custom and of all 
duties and rights. 2 That the functions of the husband 
and father are not merely of the sexual and procreative 
kind, but involve the duties of supporting and pro- 
tecting the wife and children, is testified by an array 
of facts relating to peoples in all quarters of the world 
and in all stages of civilisation. 3 Many savages do not 

1 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, i. (London, 
1921), p. 68. 

2 Idem, The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, i. (London, 
1912), pp. 118-122, 135-137, 139 sqq. For the characteristics and 
origin of moral disapproval, see ibid. vol. i. ch. ii. p. 21 sqq. 

3 The History of Human Marriage, i. 46 sqq. 


allow a man to marry until he has given some proof of 
his ability to fulfil those duties. 1 Marriage and the 
family are thus most intimately connected with one 
another. Indeed, quite frequently true married life 
does not begin for persons who are formally married or 
betrothed, or a marriage does not become definite, until 
a child is born or there are signs of pregnancy; whilst 
in other cases sexual relations that happen to lead to 
pregnancy or the birth of a child are, as a rule, followed 
by marriage or make marriage compulsory. 2 We may 
truly say that marriage is rooted in the family rather 
than the family in marriage. 

A different explanation of the origin of the family 
among the primates has recently been given by Dr. 
Zuckerman. Whilst I have attributed it to ipsiincts, 
added to the sexual instinct, which are of vital im- 
portance to the species, he, on the other hand, main- 
tains that the factor underlying the permanent associa- 
tion of the sexes among apes and monkeys is their 
uninterrupted reproductive life: " the male primate ", 
he says, " is always sexually potent, while the female is 
also to some extent receptive ". 3 In my History of 
Human Marriage I considered the possibility of the 
family having such an origin as has been suggested by 
Dr. Zuckerman; 4 but I found reasons to believe that 
the anthropoid apes have a definite sexual season, and 
that the pairing of our earliest human or half-human 
ancestors also was restricted to a certain season of the 
year. 5 In support of the former opinion I quoted some 
statements then known to me including one com- 
municated to me by Alfred Russel Wallace, which was 
based on his personal experience of the orang-utan in 
Borneo and in a more recent work I have added other 

1 Ibid. i. 49 sqq. 2 Ibid. i. 72 sqq. 

3 Zuckerman, op. cit. pp. 55, 313. 

4 The History of Human Marriage, i. 77. 

5 Ibid. i. 8 1 sqq. 


statements of a similar character, 1 Dr. Zuckerman, 
who mentions most of these statements, speaks of them 
disparagingly as being based mainly upon the narra- 
tives of travellers, and asserts that, so far as it is possible 
to make generalisations, " all Old World monkeys 
about which accurate information is available breed at 
any time ". 2 As regards the anthropoid apes this in- 
formation consists almost exclusively of records con- 
cerning animals kept in confinement. Now it is a 
common opinion that such animals do not afford a 
reliable source of information about the breeding 
activity of wild ones, because the generative system 
may be affected by conditions attending captivity; and 
Dr. Zuckerman himself seems to have shared this 
opinion, till quite recently. 3 He says that definite 
knowledge about the breeding of wild Old World 
primates exists, so far as he is aware, only in the case of 
the Chacma baboon, an animal that is widely scattered 
over South Africa; and by examining several adult 
females of this monkey, collected on a farm in the 
Eastern Province of South Africa, he fgund that they 
had become pregnant at different times of the year, 
which proved the absence of a demarcated breeding 
season. 4 

The " accurate information " we possess about the 
breeding activities of Old World monkeys is thus 
infinitesimal, and hardly justifies any far-reaching con- 
clusions. Apart from the extremely hypothetical char- 
acter of the assumption that the times when a monkey 
breeds in captivity are also the times when it would 
breed in its natural habitat, it should be remembered 

1 Three Essays on Sex and Marriage , p. 199 sq. 

2 Zuckerman, op. cit. pp. 45, 50. 

3 Idem, ' The Menstrual Cycle of the Primates ', in Proceedings 
of the Zoological Society of London , 1930, p. 693 sq. 

4 Idem, The Social Life of Monkeys and Apes, p. 49 sq.\ idem, 
1 The Menstrual Cycle of the Primates ', in Proceedings of the 
Zoological Society of London, 1931, p. 341. 


that the very limited amount of information available 
about the breeding in captivity refers to certain species 
only; and Dr. Zuckerman himself has, in another con- 
nection, pointed out the danger of arguing from the 
behaviour of one animal to that of another. Curiously 
enough, he has illustrated this by the statement that 
the spotted deer of India breeds at all times of the year, 
whereas the red deer of Western Asia, which belongs 
to the same zoological family, has a short mating season, 
the only time when the sexes meet. 1 Another similar 
fact, recorded by Baker, is that the white-footed mouse 
of North America breeds all the year round in the wild, 
although allied genera have a definite breeding season. 2 
But even the breeding records of captive monkeys are 
not unanimous. 3 With reference to the anthropoids, 
R. M. and Ada W. Yerkes, who are very cautious in 
their estimation of evidence and perfectly unbiassed by 
any particular theories, write in their exhaustive work 
on the Great Apes: " The facts available suggest that 
there is a definite breeding season, or possibly seasons, 
for each of the.five types " (the gibbon, siamang, orang- 
utan, chimpanzee, and gorilla). 4 

The occurrence of a definite breeding season does 
not ipso facto imply that sexual activity also takes place 
only at a certain time of the year: it may possibly de- 
pend merely upon the fact that the female's capacity 
for becoming pregnant is restricted to a certain period 
and not upon absence of coition. It has been proved 
that monkeys kept in confinement may be sexually 
active at any time; 5 but it has not been proved that the 

1 Idem, The Social Life of Monkeys and Apes, p. 25. 

2 J. R. Baker, Sex in Man and Animals (London, 1926), p. 144. 

3 See Three Essays on Sex and Marriage, p. 202. In the same 
work I have also in other respects subjected Dr. Zuckerman 's theory 
to a more detailed criticism. 

4 R. M. and Ada W. Yerkes, op. cit. p. 542. 

6 G. S. Miller, * Some Elements of Sexual Behavior in Primates 
and their possible Influence on the Beginnings of Human Social 


same is generally the case with monkeys in a state of 
nature. If this could be proved we might no doubt say 
that the more or less permanent sexual stimulus would 
help to hold male and female together. But even then 
I venture to suggest that such uninterrupted sexual 
capacity might itself be the result of natural selection 
owing to its tendency to preserve the offspring. It 
would thus have the same effect as the breeding season, 
which I have taken to be fundamentally governed by 
the law that the young shall be born at the time which 
is most favourable for their survival. 1 

In no case, however, could uninterrupted sexual 
stimulus, which Dr. Zuckerman regards as the sole 
source of the family with monkey and man, explain 
the mate's relation to the offspring and the paternal 
instinct underlying it, which has been noticed both in 
the anthropoids and in other sub-human primates. 
Diard was told by the Malays, and found it afterwards 
to be true, that the young siamangs, when in their help- 
less state, are carried about by their parents, the males 
by the father and the females by the mother. 2 Von 
Oertzen states that among chimpanzees the father, as 
well as the mother, defends the young in case of danger. 3 
The Duke of Mecklenburg tells us that one morning 
when he had shot down a young chimpanzee from a 
tree, an old male appeared with his mouth wide open, 
evidently inclined to attack him; he adds that old males 

Development ', in Journal of Mammalogy, ix. (Baltimore, 1928), p. 
278 sqq. 

1 The History of Human Marriage, i. 78 sqq. My theory has 
gained the support of Dr. F. H. A. Marshall (The Physiology of 
Reproduction [London, 1922], p. 29 sq.) y who has answered objections 
raised by Mr. W. Heape (' The " Sexual Season " of Mammals and 
the Relation of the " Pro-oestrum " to Menstruation ', in The 
Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science, N.S. vol. xliv. pt. i. 
[London, 1900], p. 19 sq.). 

2 A. E. Brehm, Thierleben, i. (Leipzig, 1877), P- 97* 

3 Jbid. xiii. (Leipzig, 1920), p. 661. 


" often accompany the families at a distance, but keep 
to themselves ". l Livingstone says of the " sokos " 
in the Manuyema country, which would seem to be 
the common chimpanzee, 2 that " a male often carries 
a child, especially if they are passing from one patch of 
forest to another over a grassy space; he then gives it 
to the mother ". 3 Forbes writes, perhaps on the 
authority of Von Koppenfels, 4 that chimpanzees build 
resting-places, not far from the ground, " in which 
the female and her young take refuge for the night, 
the male placing himself on guard beneath ". 5 Von 
Koppenfels also says that the male gorilla in a similar 
manner protects the female and their young from the 
nocturnal attacks of leopards. 6 Burbridge mentions a 
case in which a great gorilla met death in a headlong 
charge to rescue his young. 7 Speaking of the gorilla 
of the Cameroons, Guthrie relates on native authority 
that in one instance, when a band was attacked by two 
men, " the old gorilla of the band first got his family 
out of danger, and then returned to the encounter ". 8 
Brehm mentions instances of the paternal instinct 
among some other monkeys. 9 It should finally be 
noticed, with reference to Dr. Zuckerman's hypothesis, 
that the lasting association of the sexes among the 
primates by no means presupposes an uninterrupted 

1 The Duke Adolphus Frederick of Mecklenburg, In the Heart 
of Africa (London, 1910), p. 139. 

2 H. O. Forbes, A Hand-book to the Primates, ii. (London, 1894), 
p. 197. 

3 D. Livingstone, The Last Journals of, in Central Africa, ii. 
(London, 1874), p. 55. 

4 Forbes, op. cit. p. 193; H. von Koppenfels, * Meine Jagden auf 
Gorillas ', in Die Gartenlaube, 1877 (Leipzig), p. 418. 

6 Forbes, op. cit. ii. 193. 

6 Von Koppenfels, loc. cit. p. 418 sq. 

1 B. Burbridge, Gorilla (London, 1928), p. 238. 

8 A. E. Jenks, ' Bulu Knowledge of the Gorilla and Chimpanzee ', 
in The American Anthropologist, N.S. xiii. (Lancaster, 1911), p. 58. 

9 Brehm, op. cit. xiii. 488, 571, 581. 


sexual capacity, since similar associations are found in 
many species whose sexual life is restricted to a certain 

When I first set forth my theory of the origin of 
marriage I had to oppose a view which was then held 
by many eminent sociologists, namely, that the human 
race must originally have lived in a state of promiscuity, 
where individual marriage did not exist, where all the 
men in a horde or tribe had, indiscriminately, access to 
all the women, and where the children born of these 
unions belonged to the community at large. I do not 
know that this view nowadays is supported by any 
English writer, but it has, to some extent, survived in 
Germany. Iwan Bloch says that recent ethnological 
research has proved the untenability of my criticism, 
that tfiel-e can be no doubt whatever that in the begin- 
nings of human development a state of promiscuity 
actually prevailed, that it even seems incomprehensible 
how a dispute could ever have arisen in the matter; and 
he quotes with approval P. Nacke's dictum that an 
original state resembling promiscuity can, in fact, be 
assumed a priori. He argues that since even in our 
time, after the development of a sexual morality pene- 
trating and influencing our entire social life, the human 
need for sexual variety continues to manifest itself in 
almost undiminished strength, " we can hardly regard 
it as necessary to prove that in primitive conditions 
sexual promiscuity was a more original, and, indeed, 
a more natural, state than marriage 'V Now it is cer- 
tainly true that the sexual instinct is stimulated by a 
change of its object, and that this taste for variety is a 
cause of much extra-matrimonial intercourse of a more 
or less promiscuous character. But the assumption 
that it dominated primitive man to such an extent as 
to exclude all unions of greater durability is warranted 

1 I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time (London, 1908), p. 
1 88 sqq. 


by nothing that is known either about anthropoid apes 
or savage men. When Dr. Bloch and some other 
authors speak of early marriage, they are too apt to over- 
look the fact that a wife is not only a cause of sexual 
pleasure but a helpmate, a food-provider, a cook, and 
a mother of children. 

The main evidence adduced in support of the hypo- 
thesis of primitive promiscuity flows from two different 
sources. First, there are in books of ancient and 
modern writers notices of peoples who are alleged to 
live or to have lived promiscuously. Secondly, there 
are certain customs which have been interpreted as 
survivals of such a state in the past. As to the evidence 
of the former kind, I think it would be difficult to find 
a more untrustworthy collection of statements. Some 
of them are simply misrepresentations of theorists in 
which sexual laxity, frequency of separation, polyandry, 
group-marriage or something like it, or the absence of 
a marriage ceremony or of a word for " to marry " or 
of a marriage union similar to our own, is confounded 
with promiscuity. Others are based upon indefinite 
evidence which may be interpreted in one way or other, 
or on information proved to be inaccurate. And not 
a single statement can be said to be authoritative or 
even to make the existence of promiscuity as the regular 
form of the relations between the sexes at all probable 
in any case. That no known savage people nowadays 
is, or recently was, living in such a state is quite obvious; 
and this greatly discredits the supposition that pro- 
miscuity prevailed among any of the peoples mentioned 
by classical or mediaeval writers in their summary and 
vague accounts. Considering how uncertain the in- 
formation is which people give about the sexual relations 
of their own neighbours, we must be careful not to 
accept as trustworthy evidence the statements made 
by Greek and Roman authors with reference to more 
or less distant tribes in Africa or Asia of whom they 


manifestly possessed very little knowledge. 1 Nor can 
I ascribe any evidentiary value at all to the supposed 
survivals of earlier promiscuity. After a detailed 
examination of them I arrived at the conclusion that 
none of them justifies the assumption that promiscuity 
has ever been the prevailing form of sexual relations 
among a single people, and far less that it has constituted 
a general stage in the social development of man. 2 But 
the hypothesis of promiscuity not only lacks all founda- 
tion in fact: it is positively opposed to the most prob- 
able inference we are able to make as regards the early 
condition of mankind. Darwin remarked that from 
what we know of the jealousy of all male quadrupeds 
promiscuous intercourse is utterly unlikely to prevail 
in a state of nature. 3 

Many writers believe that the earliest form of mar- 
riage was a so-called group-marriage, implying a union 
between a certain group of men and a certain group 
of women. The latest exponent of this theory, Dr. 
Briffault, writes that " the regulation of collective 
sexual relations between given groups has everywhere 
preceded any regulation of those relations between 
individual members of those groups ", and that " in 
their origin marriage regulations had no reference to 
such individual relations, but to relations between 
groups ". 4 Group-marriage has been found among 
many peoples who practise polyandry: in Tibet, India, 
and Ceylon. 5 In several statements referring to these 
cases it is either implied or directly said that it has 
arisen as a combination of polygyny with polyandry; 

1 The History of Human Marriage, vol. i. ch. iii. 

2 Ibid. vol. i. chs. iv.-viii. 

3 C. Darwin, The Descent of Man, ii. (London, 1888), p. 394 sq. 
Before Darwin J. J. Virey (De la fern me [Paris, 1823], P- 148) argued 
that promiscuity would have caused perpetual fighting between the 

4 R. Briffault, The Mothers, i. (London, 1927), pp. 766, 607. 

5 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 223 sqq. 


and in other instances the same may be inferred from 
the facts, that both in Tibet and India polyandry is 
much more prevalent than group-marriage, that the 
latter occurs there only side by side with polyandry, 
and that the occasional combination of polygyny with 
polyandry, when the circumstances permit it and make 
it convenient, is easy to explain, whereas no satisfactory 
reason has been given for the opinion that polyandry 
has developed out of an earlier stage of group-marriage. 
So far as I am aware, the latter has not been proved to 
occur anywhere except in connection with polyandry. 
But there are peoples who have some kind of sex 
communism, in which several men have the right of 
access to several women, although none of the women 
is properly married to more than one of theni^ who 
lives with her, has economic interests in common with 
her, and has paternal rights over the children borne by 
her. 1 The fact that some of our authorities apply the 
term " group-marriage " to relations of that sort should 
not deceive us as regards their true nature. Even Dr. 
Briffault, who ^defines marriage, when contracted be- 
tween individuals, as essentially an economic associa- 
tion, with or without exclusive sexual rights, uses the 
same term for group-relations which are purely sexual, 
without any economic aspect at all. It is also the sexual 
side of the relations that has led him and others to look 
for evidence of an early stage of group-marriage in 
various customs which had previously been represented 
as survivals of promiscuity, such as the classificatory 
system of relationship, the practice of exchanging wives 
temporarily, the duty of offering one's wife to a guest, 
polyandry, the levirate, and the liberty granted to un- 
married women. Dr. Briffault even says that " in 
those societies which have preserved their primitive 
organisation in clans or intermarrying groups, recog- 
nised freedom of access between any male of the one 

1 Ibid. iii. 228 sqq. 



group and any female of the other is, in fact, the rule 
rather than the exception 'V I have examined his 
evidence in detail, and doubt whether such unlimited 
freedom has been proved to exist even among a single 
people. 2 

According to Dr. Briffault " the earliest human 
assemblages must . . . have been derived from animal 
groups belonging to the type of the animal family ". 
He alleges that it is among mammals the invariable 
tendency of the female to segregate herself and to form 
an isolated group with her offspring. The animal 
family is the product of the maternal instincts alone; 
the mother is the sole centre and bond of it. The 
sexual instincts which bring the male and the female 
together have no part in the formation of it. The male 
is not an essential member of it. He may join the 
maternal group, but commonly does not do so, and 
when he attaches himself to it his association with it is 
loose and precarious; in no animal species does it 
appear to survive the exercise of the sexual functions. 
These functions are the only ones thatjthe male fulfils 
in the animal family when he is a member of it; the 
protective functions are exercised by the female alone. 
All this is alleged to be true also of the nearest animal 
relatives of man, the anthropoid apes. 3 This is an 
amazing statement, utterly incompatible with what we 
know about the habits of the anthropoids. 

Not less extraordinary is Dr. Briffault's assertion 
that in mankind the family even nowadays is in many 
instances scarcely found to exist as a solidary and 
recognised group. 4 It is characteristic of the method 
with which he handles ethnological evidence that he 

1 Briffault, op. cit. i. 608 sq. 

2 Three Essays on Sex and Marriage, p. 277 sqq. 

3 Briffault, op. cit. i. 124, 187 sqq., 520. 

4 Ibid. i. 505 sqq. For a criticism of his evidence, see my Three 
Essays on Sex and Marriage, p. 212 sqq. 


completely ignores my large collection of facts, covering 
many pages, which conclusively shows that among 
modern savages living in the hunting and food-collect- 
ing stage, or at most acquainted with some primitive 
mode of agriculture, the family consisting of parents 
and children is a very well marked social unit; * and it 
is so also among peoples who trace descent through the 
mother. Its world-wide prevalence has more recently 
been affirmed by Professor Malinowski, who has an 
intimate personal experience of matrilineal savages. 
He writes: " The typical family, a group consisting of 
mother, father, and their progeny, is found in all com- 
munities, savage, barbarous, and civilised; everywhere 
it plays an important role and influences the whole 
extent of social organisation and culture. . . . In no 
ethnographic area is the family absent as a domestic 
institution. ... It is an undeniable fact that the family 
is universal and sociologically more important than 
the clan which, in the evolution of humanity, it pre- 
ceded and outlasted ". 2 If it exists universally both 
among monkeys and men, it would be a true marvel if 
primitive man had been the only primate who had 
been without it. 

Theories concerning the earliest form of sexual 
relations in mankind have influenced speculations as 
to the future of marriage and the family. Socialist 
writers have tried to reinforce their social ideals by 
references to primeval sexual communism. 3 Accord- 
ing to Dr. Briffault, " every inference that can be 

1 The History of Human Marriage, i. 54 sqq. 

2 B. Malinowski, * Kinship J , in Encyclopaedia Britannica, xiii. 
(London, 1929), pp. 404, 405, 408. 

3 A. Bebel, Woman in the Past, Present, and Future (London, 
1885), p. 9; F. Engels, Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthums 
und des Staats (Hottingen-Ziirich, 1884), p. 17. See also J. Loewen- 
thal's reference to Krishe's book, Das Rdtsel der Mutterrechtsgesell- 
schaft (Miinchen, 1927), in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft, xiv. 
(Berlin & Koln, 1927), p. 27 sq. 


drawn from the facts of social history shows that the 
inevitable consequence must be a tendency for marriage 
to revert from patriarchal to so-called matriarchal 
forms; that is, to a very loose and unstable association ".* 
I myself have been accused of attempting to justify 
the perpetuity of the family by representing it as the 
basic unit of primitive society. 2 But it never occurred 
to me to regard the existence of the family in primitive 
humanity as a sufficient reason for its preservation ad 
infinitum. It is, on the contrary, quite obvious that 
the general cause to which I have traced its origin, 
the need of the species, no longer operates: mankind 
would not succumb if women and children now and in 
the future had no husband or father to look after them. 
Yet I-^hink that the origin of marriage and the family 
has had some bearing on their continuance by leaving 
behind deep-rooted instincts which will help to pre- 
serve them, even though no longer necessary for the 
survival of the race. 

1 R. Briffault, ' Introduction ' to V. F. Calverton's book, The 
Bankruptcy of Marriage (London, 1931), p. 7. 

2 V. F. Calverton, ' The Compulsive Basis of Social Thought ', 
in American Journal of Sociology, xxxvi. (Chicago, 193 1), pp. 700, 702. 



THERE are three essential elements in every normal 
marriage: the gratification of the sexual impulse, the 
relation between husband and wife apart from it, and 
procreation. The comparative importance attached to 
these factors has varied considerably. The primary 
object of marriage has always been sexual union, as 
sexual desire is obviously the primary motive of rela- 
tions between the sexes among animals, even when 
these relations last beyond the pairing season till after 
the birth of the offspring. But among existing savages 
the aspect of procreation also plays a very important 
role. The desire for offspring is very strong among 
them. A woman is valued not only as a wife but also 
as a mother; and the respect in which she is held is 
often proportionate to her fecundity, a barren wife 
being despised as an unnatural and useless being. 1 
Pre-nuptial relations frequently have the character of a 
trial by which the lover ascertains that the woman will 
gratify his desire for offspring, and in such a case 
marriage is not concluded before the birth of a child or 
until there are signs of pregnancy. 2 A very frequent 
cause of divorce among simple peoples is barrenness in 
the wife; and it is so not only where the husband may 
repudiate his wife at will, but also where his right of 

1 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, ii. (London, 
1921), p. 31 sq. 

2 Ibid. i. 1 60. 


divorcing her is restricted. 1 A man without offspring 
is an unfortunate being under savage conditions of life, 
where individual safety and welfare depend upon 
family ties, and the old have to be supported by the 
young. The childless man may even have to suffer 
after his death for lack of offspring, there being nobody 
to make offerings to his ghost. 2 

For a similar reason procreation has assumed an 
extraordinary importance among the peoples of archaic 
civilisation. According to Chinese ideas it is one of the 
greatest misfortunes that could befall a man, and at the 
same time an offence against the whole line of ancestors, 
to die without leaving a son to perpetuate the family 
cult; for it would doom father, mother, and all the 
ancestry in the Nether-world to a pitiable existence 
without descendants enough to serve them properly. 3 
Among the Semites we meet with the idea that a dead 
man who has no children will miss something in ShSol 
through not receiving that kind of worship which ances- 
tors in early times appear to have received. 4 Among 
the Israelites procreation was the chief goal of marriage. 5 
According to the Talmud " every Jew who does not 
occupy himself with generation is on a par with one who 
is guilty of bloodshed "; 6 and all Jews desire to have a 
son who after his father's death can say the prayer on his 
behalf. 7 The ancient Indo-European nations believed 
that a man's happiness in the next world depended upon 
his having a continuous line of male descendants, whose 

1 The History of Human Marriage y iii. 290. 

2 Ibid. i. 362. 3 Ibid. i. 375. 

4 T. K. Cheyne, * Harlot ', in Cheyne and J. S. Black, Encyclo- 
paedia Biblica, ii. (London, 1901), p. 1964. 

5 See Psalms, cxxvii. 4. * 

6 Jebamoth, fol. 63 b, quoted by H. Vorwahl, * Die Sexualitat im 
Alten Testament ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexual- 
politik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 127. 

7 E. Brauer, ' Die Frau bei den siidarabischen Juden ', ibid, 
xviii. (Berlin & Koln, 1931), p. 158. 


duty it would be to make the periodical offerings for 
the repose of his soul. 1 The old idea still survives in 
India: " aJHiQdu. man must marry and beget children 
to perform liis funeral rites, lest his spirit wander un- 
easily in the waste places of the earth ". 2 In the 
Zoroastrian books we likewise meet with the idea that 
a Irian' should marry and get progeny; 3 the man without 
a son cannot enter paradise because there is nobody to 
pay him the family worship. 4 Plato remarks that every 
individual is bound to provide for a continuance of 
representatives to succeed himself as ministers of the 
Divinity; 5 and Isaeus says: " All those who think their 
end approaching look forward with a prudent care that 
their houses may not become desolate, but that there 
may be some person to attend to their funeral rites and 
to perform the legal ceremonies at their tombs' . 6 The 
ordinary Greek feeling on the object of marriage is no 
doubt expressed in the oration against Neaera, ascribed 
to Demosthenes, where it is said: " We keep mistresses 
for our pleasures, concubines for constant attendance, 
and wives to bear us legitimate children and to be our 
faithful housekeepers". 7 

A very different view of marriage was introduced 
into Europe by Christianity. It was permitted to man 
as a restraint, however imperfect, on the sinful licen- 
tiousness of the sexual impulse. Said St. Paul: " It is 
good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, 
to avoid fornication, let each man have his own wife, 

1 N. D. Fustel de Coulanges, La Gitt antique (Paris, 1864), p. 

2 H. Risley, The People of India (London, 1915), p. 154. 

3 Vendiddd, iv. 47 (The Sacred Books of the East, vol. iv. [Oxford, 

4 J. Darmesteter, in The Sacred Books of the East, iv. p. Ixii. 

5 Plato, Leges, vi. 773. 

6 Isaeus, Oratio de Apollodori hereditate, 30, p. 66. 

7 Oratio in Neceram, in Demosthenes, Opera (Parisiis, 1843), p. 



and let each woman have her own husband ".* He 
said nothing about procreation. But the Church also 
admitted marriage as a necessary expedient for the 
continuance of the human species, and at the same time 
pronounced this to be the only legitimate object of 
sexual intercourse even between husband and wife. 
The procreation of children was said to be the measure 
of a Christian's indulgence in appetite, just as the 
husbandman throwing the seed into the ground awaits 
the harvest, not sowing more upon it. 2 The Pope's 
encyclical of 3ist December 1930 forbids the use of 
contraceptives on the ground that " the connubial act is 
naturally designed to evoke new life M . 3 

Among orthodox Christians of other confessions we 
also find, to some extent, the theory that sexual inter- 
course is justifiable only as a means of generation; but 
it is certainly on the wane. Some interesting informa- 
tion on this point comes from America. Dr. Katharine 
B. Davis, who carried out a study on a thousand 
educated married women and about a thousand un- 
married college women, put to them the question, "Are 
married people justified having intercourse except for 
the purpose of having children? " Only a small 
minority (15*3 per cent.) of those answering definitely 
this question replied negatively. 4 Dr. G. V. Hamilton 
put a similar question to one hundred married men and 
an equal number of married women, most of whom 
were well under forty years of age, residents of New 
York City, and classifiable as having attained a relatively 

1 i Corinthians, vii. i sq. 

2 Athenagoras, Legatio pro Christianis, 33 (J. P. Migne, Patro- 
logice cursus completus, Ser. Graeca, vi. [Parisiis, 1857], col. 966). 

3 F. E. Traumann, * Das Rundschreiben des Papstes Pius XI 
liber die christliche Ehe und die Sexualreform ', in Zeitschrift fiir 
Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xviii. (Berlin & Koln, 1931), 
p. 124. 

4 Katharine B. Davis, Factors in the Sex Life of Twenty-two Hun- 
dred Women (New York & London, 1929), p. 355 sqq. 


high level of culture. ' . He formulated it thus: " Do you 
believe that it is right to have the sex act for any other 
purpose than to bring children into the world? " Eighty- 
five men and 81 women replied, " Yes, it is right "; 
and ii men and 12 women, " Formerly believed it to 
be wrong, now believes it to be right ".* Again, the 
question whether it is right to use methods for prevent- 
ing pregnancy was answered in the affirmative by 89-7 
per cent, of more than 1000 women belonging to the 
Davis group, and in the negative only by 10-2 per cent. 2 
The enormous frequency of the use of contraceptives 
also bears testimony to people's feelings concerning it. 
The leader in the movement has been France, a largely 
Catholic country, where it started in the middle of the 
last century in the great cities and in the fertile districts 
of the south; 3 and the proportion of Catholic women 
who apply for advice at Margaret Sanger's clinic in 
New York is only one percentage lower than the pro- 
portion of Protestant women. 4 So far as England is 
concerned, Dr. A. W. Thomas wrote in 1906: " From 
my experience as a general practitioner, I have no 
hesitation in saying that 90 per cent, of young married 
couples of the comfortably-off classes use preventives "; 5 
and this rough estimate does not seem to be over 
the mark. 6 In Germany birth control was very pre- 
valent before the War, 7 and has greatly increased 

1 G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage (New York, 1929), 

p. 382. 

2 Davis, op. cit. 372 sqq. 

3 H. Harmsen, Bevolkerungspolitik Frankreichs (Berlin, 1927), 
reviewed in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. 
(Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 588. 

4 Havelock Ellis, More Essays of Love and Virtue (London, 1931), 
p. 36 n. i. 

5 A. W. Thomas, ' The Decline in the Birth Rate ', in British 
Medical Journal, 1906, vol. ii. (London), p. 1066. 

6 See Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. (Phila- 
delphia, 1923), p. 589. 

7 L. D. Pesl, * Fruchtabtreibung und Findelhaus ', in Zeitschrift 


afterwards. 1 In the United States 74- 1 1 per cent, of the 
985 married women who answered Dr. Davis* question 
referring to the use of contraceptives admitted it, 2 and 
87 of the women belonging to the Hamilton group 
did the same. 3 At the same time contraception has still 
many opponents also in Protestant countries, and not 
only on political grounds as lowering the birth-rate; in 
Denmark there seems to be quite a widespread feeling 
against it. 4 

The use of contraceptives by a married couple does 
not, of course, mean that no children are wanted: it 
only implies a desire to control the appearance of 
children, their number, and the times when they are to 
be born. An American writer triumphantly exclaims: 
" For the younger generation, fecundity is out of the 
question. The new gospel is one of frank fun and 
happy-go-lucky pleasure seeking. . . . Reproduction 
has become a mere episode in the relations of the sexes. 
Procreation is not taken too seriously ". 6 This is 
hardly in agreement with certain answers given to 
questionnaires submitted to young people in his own 
country. In the replies of a number of male students 
at the University of Mississippi " willingness,, .to. rear 
a family " takes a very prominent place, "Being put above 

fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), 
p. 260. 

1 A. Moll, ( Der " reaktionare " Kongress fur Sexualforschung ', 
ibid. xiii. (Bonn, 1927), p. 330; F. Burgdorfer, Der Geburtenruckgang 
und die Zukunft des deutschen Volkes (Berlin, 1928), quoted ibid. xvi. 
(Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 67. See also A. V. Knack, ' Die Weg- 
bereitung einer vernunftgemassen Bevolkerungspolitik ', in A. Weil, 
Sexualreform und Sexualwissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1922), p. 203. 

2 Davis, op. cit. p. 14. 

3 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 134. 

4 S. Ranulf, ' Die moralische Reaktion gegen neomalthusianische 
Propaganda in Danemark ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexuahvissenschaft und 
Sexualpolitik, xvi. (Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 47 sqq. 

5 S. D. Schmalhausen, Why We Misbehave (New York, 1928), 
pp. 37, 40 sq. 


mere looks, wealth, or housekeeping ability; and 
answers given by students at Ohio State University 
mention among the essential mental qualifications in a 
wife a desire for and a love of children. 1 Dr. Hamil- 
ton's question, " Do you wish to have children? " 
elicited the answer " No " from only 14 men and 4 
women belonging to his group of one hundred 
married men and one hundred married women, and 
the answer " No " with reservations from 6 men and 
no woman; while his question, " Does your spouse 
wish to have children? " was answered in the negative 
by 10 men and 18 women, and in the negative with 
reservations by 2 men and 3 women. 2 

These answers are substantially concordant with 
popular notions, as well as with views expressed by 
eminent students of the psychology of sex. Accord- 
ing to Havelock Ellis, " most people, certainly most 
women, feel at moments, or at some period in their 
lives, a desire for children " ; 3 and in women the 
longing for a child " may become so urgent and im- 
perative that ve may regard it as scarcely less impera- 
tive than the sexual impulse ", 4 Van de Velde writes: 
" To be a woman means to have the desire to become a 
mother both physically and mentally ". He admits 
that " there are women, and presumably always have 
been women, although their number may be relatively 
very small, who feel such a strong antagonism to 
motherhood that they refuse to marry for this reason "; 
but he adds: " The absence of the maternal instinct in 
the modern woman is really nothing but a pose. The 
maternal instinct exists in spite of this, although there 
may be only one child. . . . Where it really is repressed, 

1 P. Popenoe, Modern Marriage (New York, 1927), p. 35 sq. 

2 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 123 sq. 

3 Havelock Ellis, Views and Reviews (London, 1932), p. 82. 

4 Idem, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, * Analysis of the Sexual 
Instinct, etc/ (1903), p. 16. 


because some women think it fashionable, or because 
of decadence, or love of pleasure, it will also be seen 
that such repression has its revenge sooner or later. A 
more than temporary repression of the mother instinct 
is, practically speaking, impossible 'V It may be that 
Bertrand Russell was deceived by that pose when he 
made the contrary suggestion that so long as women 
were in subjection they did not dare to be honest about 
their own emotions, but professed those which were 
pleasing to the male, and that consequently, until very 
recently, all decent women were supposed to desire 
children, because many men were shocked by those 
who frankly admitted that they did not desire any. 2 
He thinks that the desire for children is commoner 
among men than among women, and that in a very 
large number of modern marriages the children are a 
concession on the part of the woman to the man's 
desires. He even writes: " It is for this reason, rather 
than for the sake of sex, that men marry, for it is not 
difficult to obtain sexual satisfaction without marriage ", 3 
He seems then to forget that marriage .has other ad- 
vantages to offer a man than the prospect of fatherhood 
and the gratification of the sexual impulse. But it is 
quite possible that though the desire for children does 
not play such an important part in the thoughts of men 
as it does with most women, nevertheless, as Popenoe 
observes, " the number of men to whom this aspect of 
marriage appeals strongly is far greater than is often 
realised ". 4 Among European peasantry it is certainly 
a powerful motive. The so-called Probeheiraten, or 
trial marriages, in some districts of Bavaria and the 
brutkoste of the Dutch plainsmen have in a large 

1 Th. H. van de Velde, Sex Hostility in Marriage (London, 1931), 
pp. 70, 76, 78. 

2 B. Russell, Marriage and Morals (London, 1929), p. 170. 

3 Ibid. p. 159. 

4 Popenoe, op. cit. p. 4. 


measure the purpose of testifying the woman *s capacity 
for bearing children. 1 

We now come to the third essential element in mar- 
riage: the relation between husband and wife apart from 
the gratification of the sexual impulse and procreation. 
If my theory of the origin of marriage is correct, this 
relation has from the beginning contained some degree 
of affection. In a species where the male remains 
with the female and takes care of her even after the 
pairing season has passed, it must be a feeling of this 
sort that accounts for it. We may assume that the 
tendency to feel some attachment to a being who has 
been the cause of pleasure, in this case sexual pleasure, 
is at the bottom of the marital instinct, and that the need 
of the species is the ultimate cause of the association 
between the sexual desire and affection, which is the 
essence of conjugal love. At the lower stages of 
human development conjugal affection seems to be 
considerably inferior to the tender feelings with which 
parents embrace their children, 2 but we must not be 
misled by statements to the effect that among some 
savages love between husband and wife is unknown. 
However different the love of a savage may be from 
that of a civilised man, we discover in it traces of the 
same ingredients. I have elsewhere given a long list 
of primitive peoples who are by no means strangers to 
conjugal love, and among these we find even the 
Australian aborigines, who generally have the reputa- 
tion of being the greatest oppressors of women on 
earth; many authorities attest that married people 
among them are often much attached to each other, and 
continue to be so even when they grow old. 3 

Advancement in civilisation has not at every step 

1 E. H. Kisch, Die sexuelle Untreue der Frau, ii. (Bonn, 1918), 
p. 122. 

2 The History of Human Marriage, ii. 24 sq. 

3 Ibid. ii. 25 sqq . 


been favourable to the development of conjugal love. 
In a book containing the cream of the moral writings of 
the Chinese, and intended chiefly for children, we read: 
"A wife is like one's clothes; when clothes are worn 
out, we can substitute those that are new "- 1 While the 
Vedic singers knew no more tender relation than that 
between the husband and his willing, loving wife, who 
was praised as " his home, the darling abode and bliss 
in his house ", 2 it is said that sincere mutual friendship 
is rarely met with in the families of the modern Hindus. 3 
Among the Arabs, Burckhardt writes, " the passion of 
love is, indeed, much talked of by the inhabitants of 
towns; but I doubt whether anything is meant by them 
more than the grossest animal desire ". 4 In Greece in 
the historic age the man recognised in the woman no 
other end than to minister to his pleasure or to become 
the mother of his children; 5 the love of women was only 
the offspring of the common Aphrodite, who " is of the 
body rather than the soul ". 6 Both in the East and in 
Greece progress in civilisation widened the gulf between 
the sexes and tended to alienate husband and wife, 
because the higher culture became almost exclusively 
the prerogative of the men. Yet Europeans are apt to 
be somewhat mistaken when judging of the conjugal 
relations of Orientals. A factor which should be taken 
into account is their ideas of decency. In Morocco it 
is considered indecent to show any affection for one's 
wife; in the eyes of the outside world the husband 
should treat her with the greatest indifference. But 

1 The Indo-Chinese Gleaner, i. (Malacca, 1818), p. 164. 

2 A. Kaegi, The Rigveda (Boston, 1886), p. 15. 

3 J. A. Dubois, A Description of the Character, Manners, and 
Customs of the People of India (Madras, 1862), p. 109. 

4 J. L. Burckhardt, Notes on the Bedouins and Wahdbys (London, 
1830), p. 155. 

5 Cf. G. Lowes Dickinson, The Greek View of Life (London, 
1896), p. 159. 

6 Plato, Symposium, p. 181. 


this by no means implies that he is devoid of tender 
feelings towards her. 1 

Many students of the psychology of sex have em- 
phasised the unity and transfusion of the spiritual and 
the bodily elements in sexual love among ourselves. 
Havelock Ellis writes: " Love, in the sexual sense, is, 
summarily considered, a synthesis of lust (in the 
primitive and uncoloured sense of sexual emotion) and 
friendship. . . . There can be no sexual love without/ 
lust; but, on the other hand, until the currents of lusjt 
in the organism have been so irradiated as to affect 
other parts of the psychic organism at the least th< 
affections and the social feelings it is not yet sexuat\ 
love. Lust, the specific sexual impulse, is indeed the 
primary and essential element in this synthesis, for it 
alone is adequate to the end of reproduction, not only 
in animals but in men. But it is not until lust is 
expanded and irradiated that it develops into the ex- 
quisite and enthralling flower of love ". 2 " In human 
beings ", says Dr. Beale, " the physical union of real 
lovers becomes the vehicle and symbol of a spiritual 
union which cannot in any other way be so completely 
effected or expressed. From the bodily coalescence of 
lover and beloved, from the thrill and ecstasy kindled 
and rekindled in that close embrace, the full mutual 
surrender and uttermost delight in one another, there 
spring emotions and sympathies that are quite unattain- 
able save in this manner ". 3 Bertrand Russell remarks 
that the sexual instinct " is not completely satisfied 
unless a man's whole being, mental quite as much as 
physical, enters into the relation. . . . Love should be 
a tree whose roots are deep in the earth, but whose 
branches extend into heaven ". 4 Female writers also 

1 See my book, Wit and Wisdom in Morocco (London, 1930), p. 80. 

2 Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. p. 133. 

3 G. C. Beale, Wise Wedlock (London [1922]), p. 57 sq. 

4 Russell, op. cit. pp. 99, 224. 


point out that the sex communion between husband and 
wife should be " a true union of souls, not merely a 
physical function for the momentary relief of the sexual 
organs 'V and that the complete act of union symbolises 
and actually enhances the spiritual union. 2 

Dr. Loewenfeld observes that sexual love is a complex 
emotional state which in its well-developed or, as one 
may say, higher form is composed of three elements: 
first, such as appertain to the sexual instinct, or, at 
least, instinctive elements originating in the sexual 
sphere; secondly, feelings of affection and sympathy 
for some individual; and thirdly, feelings of esteem, 
ranging from simple esteem to veneration, admiration, 
or even idealising. He adds that the feelings of the 
last-mentioned group, if very strongly developed, tend 
rather to diminish the sensual desire, and may easily 
lead to a feeling that the beloved object is debased by 
any attempt at satisfying the latter. 3 This takes us to 
the important fact that sexual love does not necessarily 
aim at the supreme satisfaction of the sexual impulse. 4 
This impulse is an urge to sexual activity which has its 
seat and its irradiations in the whole body and the whole 
psychic personality, being largely dependent not only 
on the external secretions of the sex glands (sperm and 
egg cells), but especially on their internal secretions or 
hormones. And it may lead to tenderness, affection, 
admiration, or idealisation in regard to the individual by 
whom it is aroused to such a degree that it is itself 

1 Margaret Sanger, Happiness in Marriage (London, 1927), p. 140. 

2 Marie Stopes, Married Love (London, 1926), p. 94. 

3 L. Loewenfeld, On Conjugal Happiness (London, 1912), p. 164 


4 Cf. E. Spranger, Psychologic des Jugendalters (Leipzig, 1924), 
p. 81 sqq.\ R. Lagerborg, Kdrleksruset (Helsingfors, 1925), p. 31 
sqq.\ Th. H. van de Velde, Ideal Marriage (London, 1928), p. n sq.\ 
R. Miiller-Freienfels, * Zur Psychologic der erotischen Selektion ', 
in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1928), p. 86. 


pushed into the background. In a young person's first 
love the desire for sexual intercourse is often completely 
absent, indeed the thought of it may fill him with 
reluctance; and if he has a desire for such an act, it is 
directed to another person than the beloved one. On 
the other hand, when the sensual attraction has ceased 
to be felt, its spiritual effect may still remain unabated, 
as is the case in long and happy marriages where 
husband and wife are united by lasting ties of mutual 
love and tenderness. 

Though love is frequently considered the only 
justifiable basis for marriage, material aspects have 
always played a very prominent part in it. Marriage 
is a community of life with everything that is implied 
in it, with common interests bodily and mental; as the 
marriage service of the Church of England states, it 
exists for " the mutual society, help and comfort that 
the one ought to have of the other ", as well as for the 
procreation of children. In early civilisation a man 
will have a female companion who takes care of his 
house, who procures wood and water, lights and 
attends to the* fire, prepares the food, dresses skins, 
makes clothes, gathers roots and berries, and among 
agricultural peoples very frequently cultivates the soil; 
and a woman wants to have a protector and supporter. 
The various occupations of life are divided between the 
sexes according to rules, the formation of which has no 
doubt been more or less influenced by the selfishness 
of the stronger sex, but which on the whole are in 
general conformity with the indications given by 
nature; 1 and so they have always, in a large measure, 
remained. Among ourselves, also, the desire to en- 
hance one's own comfort and to have a home of one's 
own with a companion to look after one's interests, is 
an important motive for marriage. Love enthusiasts 

1 See E. Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral 
Ideas, i. (London, 1912), p. 635 sq. 



are apt to look down upon so prosaic a motive, and even 
declare that marriages should be continued only so 
long as love remains. But there is sufficient evidence 
that love offers no sufficient guarantee for a happy 
married life. 

Economic considerations are certainly of great im- 
portance at the conclusion of a marriage. Poverty 
may cause much hardship to the couple, and may 
prevent them from having children, or if they have 
any, from giving them a proper education. Even 
some amount of wealth is not to be despised. It may 
increase the enjoyment of life in various ways; it may 
give the spouses leisure for some useful kind of work 
scientific, literary, artistic, or social which yields no 
pecuniary gain; and it may enable them to accomplish 
the education of their children. No wonder, then, 
that economic circumstances influence very largely the 
choice of a partner. Iwan Bloch observes that the 
economic question is the main determining influence 
among the classes who feel it their duty to keep up a 
particular kind of appearance, namely, the aristocracy, 
the upper middle classes, and the officers in the army, 
and that the predominance of mercenary marriages 
among the Jews is a well-known fact. But he also 
asks: " Where are money marriages more frequent 
than they are among our sturdy German peasants, 
with whom everything conventional has freest possible 
play? J>1 Among the peasantry both of Germany 2 and 
other European countries 3 economic equality between 
the parties is considered an essential condition for the 
conclusion of a marriage; in the West of Ireland, for 

1 I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time (London, 1908), p. 
212 sq. 

2 E. H. Meyer, Deutsche Volkskunde (Strassburg, 1898), p. 166. 

3 For Sweden, see Nicolovius (N. Loven), Folklifvet i Skytts 
Hdrad i Skdne (Lund, 1868), p. 121; F. J. E. Enestrom, Finveds- 
bornas seder och /// (Halmstad, 1911), p. 78. 


instance, " a man never thinks of a girl who has not 
sufficient money to be his equal ". l 

It would be unfair to include such marriages in 
the censure by which some eminent writers on sex 
pass upon marriages of convenience. Havelock Ellis 
writes: "A man who marries for money or for am- 
bition is departing from the biological moral ends of 
marriage. A woman who sells herself for life is 
morally on the same level as one who sells herself for a 
night ". 2 It would seem that wealth is better fitted 
than poverty for the biological purposes of procreation 
and the rearing of children, and, as Maranon remarks, 
a man's money is among ourselves a biological substi- 
tute for his physical ability in early times as a means 
of supporting his family. 3 And how do the severe 
strictures upon mercenary marriages square with the 
statements that the community has no right to interest 
itself in the sexual behaviour of its members until a 
child is born or conceived, and that " it is an impertin- 
ence, if not an outrage, to seek to inquire into it"? 4 
Why, then, should anybody have a right to pass a 
moral judgment on the motives that induce a man and a 
woman to marry, whatever his opinion about those 
motives may be? These are often very complex, and 
monetary considerations by no means exclude other 
reasons; they are not quite incompatible even with 
love. Olga Knopf remarks: " No choice is ever all for 
love or all for convenience. . . . Even in love we under- 
stand that there is a valuation of the partner and 

1 T. P. U. Blake, ' Matrimonial Customs in the West of Ireland ', 
in Folk-Lore, xviii. (London, 1907), p. 78. 

2 Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. 366. 

3 G. Maranon, Tres ensayos sobre la vida sexual (Madrid, 1927), 
pp. 53, 61 sq. 

4 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 417; A. Forel (Sexuelle Ethik [Miinchen, 1906], 
p. 34) also condemns money marriages and prostitution as immoral, 
but regards all other relations between the sexes as morally indifferent 
if nobody is injured by them. 


beneath the blindness of love there is often much 
calculation ". l Dr. Hamilton quotes the cynical saying 
that " almost any woman can love almost any man if he 
has plenty of money and a disposition to spend it for 
her benefit ", and adds that his own findings " do not 
wholly refute this adage ". 2 

The three essential elements in marriage are all 
sources of much happiness. The gratification of the 
sexual impulse not only gives intense momentary 
pleasure, but exercises also a wholesome influence on 
body and mind, and may lay the foundation of that 
exalted feeling of love which is the chief condition for a 
happy marriage. The community of life between hus- 
band and wife may in various ways be a blessing to 
both. It offers many advantages that are denied 
solitary men and women. It is a safeguard against 
loneliness; it is apt to be conducive not only to material 
comfort but to spiritual edification, to intensified life, 
to fulfilment of personality. Children increase the 
happiness of married life both as objects of parental 
affection and as binding links of love between hus- 
band and wife. Their presence may even induce the 
parents to carry on their marriage when personal feel- 
ings between them would not do so. Divorces are 
considerably more frequent in cases where there are no 
children or only one child. In England, during the 
period 1899-1930, never less than 60 per cent, of 
divorce petitions concerned families with no child or 
one only, while between 38 and 43 per cent, came from 
childless families. 3 In the United States almost two- 
thirds of the divorces are recruited from the 17 per cent, 
childless marriages, and an additional 20 per cent, of 
the divorces, or the majority of the remainder, come 

1 Olga Knopf, The Art of Being a Woman (London, 1932), p. 141. 

2 Hamilton, op, cit. p. 513. 

3 D. V. Glass, * Divorce in England and Wales ', in The Socio- 
logical Review, xxvi. (London, 1934), p. 306. 


from that comparatively small category, the one-child 
marriage. 1 In Switzerland, two -fifths of the total 
number of divorces are said by Glasson to take place 
between married people who have no children, though 
the sterile marriages only amount to one-fifth of the 
number of marriages. 2 

But while those factors which we have now con- 
sidered the sexual impulse, the community of life, 
and the presence of children may be conducive to 
much happiness in married life, they may also be quite 
the reverse. And it is the unhappy marriages that 
have in particular impressed those who nowadays 
speak of the decay of marriage and the disintegration of 
the family. 

1 A. Cahen, Statistical Analysis of American Divorce (New York, 
1932), p. 1 15. Cf. W. F. Willcox, The Divorce Problem (New York, 

9i) v p. 34- 

2 E. Glasson, Le Manage et le divorce (Paris, 1880), p. 470. 



THOSE who have tried to estimate the comparative 
prevalence of unhappiness in modern marriages have 
come to very different conclusions. 

Dr. Norman Haire writes: " Any moderately intelli- 
gent person who goes about the world with his eyes 
open who is willing to face the truths of life even if 
they are disagreeable must be struck by the appalling 
frequency of unhappiness in marriage. I can find no 
reason to believe that my circle of friends and acquaint- 
ances is an exceptional one, and if I am to judge by 
them I must conclude that a large majority of marriages 
are unsuccessful. . . . Speaking broadly, I should say 
that only one marriage in four may be judged as even 
tolerably successful, and a very much smaller proportion 
can fairly be considered as really happy ". But he 
adds: " On careful reflection I fear that I have given 
an unduly large proportion of successes, and an unduly 
small proportion of failures 'V 

A civil servant in Stockholm told a Swedish professor 
that he did not know a single bright and harmonious 
marriage among all his acquaintances; but the latter 
answered that his own experience was different. Yet 
an inquiry made by a newspaper concerning Swedish 
marriages led to the conclusion that more than one-half 

1 Norman Haire, Hymen or the Future of Marriage (London, 
1928), p. 8 sq. , 



of them must probably be regarded as unhappy. 1 
Thomas Mann writes: " Truly one may, even without 
malice, easily gather the impression that to-day ninety 
per cent, of all marriages are unhappy ". 2 Bertrand 
Russell maintains that among civilised peoples in the 
modern world " not many marriages after the first few 
years are happy ", 3 Dr. Everett thinks that probably 
from one-third to one-half of all men and women who 
marry find themselves unhappy sooner or later, not to 
mention those who are simply moderately contented. 
According to Dr. Tenenbaum, " one rarely finds a 
couple that enjoys real happiness, unless it be a sort of 
resigned acquiescence which, in itself, represents a 
mute protest against the implications of marriage ", 5 
An American judge points out that statistics show 
divorce to occur in about one in six marriages in 
the United States, which implies that there would be 
about 167 publicly admitted failures in 1000 marriages. 
" Against this ", he says, " I must oppose my observa- 
tion that if there are 167 truly successful marriages in 
the 1000 I shcjuld consider it a very good average! " 6 
Two other American writers have much more cheerful 
opinions about the marriages of their own country. 
Rafford Pyke thinks that only a very small proportion 
of them are really unhappy. 7 R. O. Lang had 7412 
marriages rated by persons who knew the couples very 
well, with the result that 72 per cent, were declared to 

1 T. Bolin, Aktenskapets kris och fornyelse (Stockholm, 1934), 
pp. 5, 6, 8. 

2 Th. Mann, ' Marriage in Transition ', in H. Keyserling, The 
Book of Marriage (New York [1926]), p. 258. 

3 B. Russell, Marriage and Morals (London, 1929), p. no. 

4 M. S. Everett, Marital Hygiene (London, 1933), p. 139. 

5 J. Tenenbaum, The Riddle of Sex (London, 1930), p. 183. 

6 G. A. Bartlett, Men, Women, and Conflict (New York & London, 
1931), p, 64. 

7 R. Pyke, ' Husbands and Wives ', in The Cosmopolitan, xxxii. 
(New York, 1902), p. 613. 


be happy, and only 9 per cent, unhappy. 1 Dean Inge 
believes that " marriage is the best thing in human life, 
and that most marriages are happy ". 2 

As to the unfavourable estimates, it has been argued 
that people are easily misled concerning the actual 
marriage situation by the fact that the smoothly going 
and satisfactory marriages do not obtrude themselves 
upon public attention. 3 They have no sensational or 
dramatic quality. They are little spoken of, they do 
not figure in the newspapers. It is not about them that 
the stage, the screen, and the novelist build their plots, 
but it is the marriages in which there is conflict, 
suffering, cruelty, unfaithfulness, desertion, or the 
like that hold the stage and come to the public eye. 
Moreover, an outsider is often quite unable to know 
whether a marriage is happy or unhappy. Much un- 
happiness may exist in homes which are outwardly 
harmonious, but there is also often conjugal happiness in 
cases where the onlooker would not have expected it. 
Such points have to be decided by the feelings of those 

Of the one hundred married men and one hundred 
married women studied by Dr. Hamilton, 109 stated 
that their marriages were successful and 21 gave a 
qualified denial that they were unsuccessful. They were 
asked: " If by some miracle you could press a button and 
find that you had never been married to your husband 
(or wife), would you press the button? " One hundred 
and thirty of them said " No ", 16 said " No " with 
qualification, and only 28 said, without hedging, that 

1 R. O. Lang, The Rating of the Degree of Happiness or Unhappi- 
ness in Marriage, Thesis for the Master of Arts Degree at the Univer- 
sity of Chicago, 1932 (unpublished), quoted by M. F. Nimkoff, The 
Family (Cambridge, Mass., 1934), p. 376. 

2 W. R. Inge, ' Morals and Manners of Three Epochs ', in the 
Evening Standard, September 26, 1934. 

3 Pyke, loc. cit. p. 613 ; M. J. Exner, The Sexual Side of Marriage 
(London, 1932), p. 172. 


they would press the button. They were also asked: 
" Knowing what you now know, would you wish to 
marry if you were unmarried? " One hundred and 
fifty-one said " Yes ", 15 " Yes " with qualification, and 
only 13 of the 200 said " No " without qualification. 1 
Of 988 married college women belonging to the Davis 
group 872 answered unequivocally that their married 
lives had been happy, and only 1 16 that theirs had been 
either partially or totally unhappy. 2 It has been 
remarked that these figures must not be considered 
representative of the general population, considering 
that the Davis study had as subjects women who 
possessed a comparatively high degree of intelligence 
and other qualities which ought to be conducive to 
success in marriage. 3 But Rafford Pyke thinks that 
the really unhappy American marriages are chiefly 
found just among the more cultured classes, in which 
the movement of expansion in women's interests and 
lives is taking place, and marriage to-day is thus be- 
coming more and more dependent for its success upon 
the adjustment of psychical conditions. 4 The large 
percentage of successful marriages among the women of 
the Davis group is presumably connected with the fact 
that marriages consummated between college students 
are on the whole more successful than marriages 
generally. In one particular discussion of this matter 
it is reported that only one in every 75 marriages 
among college couples ended in divorce during a recent 
period of years, when there was one divorce for every 
seven marriages in the United States as a whole. 5 As 

1 G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage (New York, 1929), 
pp. 74, 69, 70, 553 sq. 

2 Katharine B. Davis, Factors in the Sex Life of Twenty -two 
Hundred Women (New York & London, 1929), p. 39. 

3 Everett, op. cit. p. 139 n. i. 

4 Pyke, loc. cit. p. 613. 

5 * Co-Education Makes Good Marriages ', in Scribner's Maga- 
zine, xc. (New York, 1931), p. 519. 


Dr. Nimkoff observes, the chances for a successful 
marriage are greater if the two persons come to their 
new experience with a fund of common interests. " If 
college marriages are more successful than marriages 
generally, this is chiefly due to the fact that the two 
persons develop much the same tastes as the result of 
their common college life. The college experience 
offers an excellent common situation for prospective 
mates, but other common situations may just as readily 
conduce to common interests 'V 

Some statistics from Russia may also be worth 
quoting. In 1908 a medical society there appointed 
a committee to study, by means of questionnaires, the 
sexual life of the female students of the University 
of Moscow. As the undertaking, however, was con- 
sidered by the Government to be dangerous to society, 
the material thus collected was confiscated by the 
police, but some of it was saved and afterwards pub- 
lished under the present regime. One hundred and 
fifty -four students looked upon marriage as indis- 
pensable to their happiness, while 104 thought that 
they might find an equivalent to it in some kind of 
work; and in the former group the percentage of 
married women was greater than that of unmarried 
ones. 2 Of 550 women who were studying at the 
University of Kazan in the winter term of 1922-23, 
55 per cent, of the unmarried ones saw their future 
happiness in marriage, 42 per cent, in durable sex 
relations, and 3 per cent, in transitory ones; but only 
40 per cent, of the married women were in favour of 
marriage, while 53 per cent. " allowed also extra- 
matrimonial intercourse ", 3 Among 1162 male and 

1 Nimkoff, op. cit. p. 377. Cf. infra, p. 82. 

2 S. Weissenberg, * Das Geschlechtsleben der russischen Studen- 
tinnen ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft, xi. (Bonn, 1924), p. n. 

3 Idem, ' Weiteres liber das Geschlechtsleben der russischen 
Studentinnen ', ibid. xii. (1925), p. 176. 


332 female students belonging to various institutions in 
Kharkov in 1926, of whom the unmarried ones and 
those who were or had been married were almost 
exactly equal in number, 88-3 per cent, of the men and 
96-2 per cent, of the women looked upon marriage and 
durable sex relations as the highest forms of sexual 
life; and of those who preferred marriage the widowers 
presented the highest percentage. 1 The only difference 
between marriages and durable sex relations is that the 
former are registered and the latter not; both kinds of 
unions can be dissolved if either party wishes it. 

A vigorous and harmonious sex life is one of the 
corner-stones of the temple of love and marriage, while 
relative or absolute impotence of the husband and 
frigidity of the wife are highly important causes of 
marital discord. The popular impression that women 
tolerate sexual inadequacy in their husbands less well 
than men tolerate it in their wives may have some 
foundation in fact; 2 but the frigidity of the woman 
makes the man's pleasure tasteless nourishment which 
barely appease? his hunger. No highly civilised or 
sensitive man appreciates union with a woman who re- 
mains unmoved and listless in his arms; the merely 
passive, submissive, and frigid wife will speedily fail to 
attract him, and as soon as sexual attraction is extin- 
guished sexual repulsion easily manifests itself, leading 
to enmity or even intense hatred. In any case the 
spiritual side of marriage would have no chance to 
develop while the natural side is out of gear. 3 

The frigidity of the wife is very frequently due to 
the husband's lack of skill or consideration, or to his 

1 Z. A. Gurewitsch and F. J. Grosser, ' Das Geschlechtsleben der 
Gegenwart ', ibid. xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 545. 

2 Hamilton, op. cit. pp. 83, 532, 537, 538, 542. 

3 Cf. O. Adler, Die mangelhafte Geschlechtsempfindung des Weibes 
(Berlin, 1911), p. 183 sq.\ G. C. Beale, Wise Wedlock (London 
[1922]), pp. n, 81. 


ignorance. It has been said that " if men were to 
give to their married life one-tenth of the trouble 
and thought they give to their business, the majority 
of marriages would be happy 'V " Marriage is a 
science ", says Balzac. He compares the average hus- 
band to an orang-utan trying to play the violin, and 
adds: " Love is the most melodious of all music, and a 
taste for it is inborn in us. Woman is a delightful 
instrument of pleasure, but it is necessary to know her 
trembling chords, the attitude in which to approach her, 
and the difficult changes of fingering needed for a 
delicate keyboard. How many orangs men, I mean, 
marry without knowing what a woman is! ... Almost 
all married in the most profound ignorance, both of 
women and of love; they began by forcing the door of a 
strange house, and they expect to be well received in 
the drawing-room ". 2 

Numbers of married women are left cold or un- 
satisfied because their husbands give no heed to the 
fact that in coitus the orgasm tends to occur more 
slowly in women than in men. Of the hundred 
married women belonging to the Hamilton group 
37 stated without qualification that their husbands' 
orgasms occurred too quickly for their own (the 
women's) pleasure. 3 This point is much better under- 
stood in the East than in the West, the prolongation 
of the man's excitement, in order to give the woman 

1 Robert Haas, quoted by Th. H. van de Velde, Ideal Marriage 
(London, 1928), p. 142. On the subject in question, see ibid. p. 9 and 
passim-, Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. (Phila- 
delphia, 1923), ch. xi., * The Art of Love '. 

2 H. de Balzac, Physiologie du manage. Meditation v. (English 
translation [London, 1925], p. 52). 

3 Hamilton, op. cit. pp. 168, 205. Cf. R. L. Dickinson and 
L. Beam, A Thousand Marriages (London, 1932), p. 61 sq.\ Marie 
Stopes, Married Love (London, 1926), pp. 93, 1 1 1 ; Margaret Sanger, 
Happiness in Marriage (London, 1927), p. 168; W. Liepmann, 
Psychologie der Frau (Berlin & Wien, 1920), p. 174. 


time for orgasm, being carefully observed both by Mos- 
lems and Hindus. 1 In the Kama Sutra of Vatsayana, 
written nearly two thousand years ago and considered 
a gem in Hindu erotic literature, we read: " Males, 
when engaged in coition, cease of themselves after 
emission, and are satisfied, but it is not so with females. 
... If a male be long-timed, the female loves him the 
more, but if he be short- timed, she is dissatisfied with 
him ". 2 

In another respect, also, the husband should have 
patience in order to make himself acceptable to his 
wife: he should court her. An instinctive impulse to 
prevent the male's approach is a feminine character- 
istic found in mankind, as well as among the lower 
animals, and in order to overcome it the male has to 
arouse in her an emotional condition which leads her 
to surrender herself to him. This is done by the 
process of courtship, which precedes a marriage, but is 
not definitely brought to an end by it: it has to be 
repeated, in some measure, before every act of coition. 
Vatsayana writes: " The husband who would like to 
keep the love of his wife all to himself, should press 
with nails or scratch with them the different erotic 
parts of her body as well as kiss all those parts every 
time he seeks an embrace. By these means the wife 
gets prepared for the sexual act, reaches her orgasm 
quickly and loves her husband fervently ". He is of 
opinion that all the parts which can be kissed should 
also be slightly bitten, but so gently as to produce only 
pleasurable sensation in the woman and no discom- 
fort. 3 Balzac says that " a husband's own interest, at 
least as much as his honour, forbids him the indulgence 
of any pleasure which he has not had the talent to make 

1 See Ellis, op. cit. y * Analysis of the Sexual Impulse', etc. (1903), 
p. 187 sq. 

2 Vatsayana, The Kama Sutra (Amritsar, 1930), p. 73. 

3 Ibid. pp. 99, 107 sq. 


attractive to his wife ".* We find similar remarks 
made by female writers. According to Ellen Key, 
" every developed modern woman wishes to be loved 
not en male but en artiste ", 2 Marie Stopes writes: 
"A man does not woo and win a woman once for all 
when he marries her: he must woo her before every 
separate act of coitus, for each act corresponds to a 
marriage as other creatures know it ". 3 Sofie Lazars- 
feld asked many women what seemed to them to be the 
man's best and most valuable quality during inter- 
course, and though the answers she received were very 
different in detail, there was always one common 
denominator, so to speak, namely, intensity of wooing, 
together with tenderness. 4 

The first night of a marriage is a particularly critical 
occasion. Here again I may refer to the wisdom of 
Vatsayana, who thinks that if the husband completely 
wins over his bride in a loving manner on the first night, 
he wins her love for the whole life. " The unseasoned 
girl is nearly always very bashful and the proper way to 
obtain her consent for sexual union is through kind 
words and showering warm kisses u'pon her. The 
husband should also repeatedly promise his life-long 
love to her. If in the storm of his passion the husband 
uses brute force to overcome the person of his young 
wife, it will seriously hurt her feelings and she may 
never afterwards be made to love him with the same 
love as a good wife should have for her husband ". 5 
Balzac utters a similar warning: " Never begin marriage 
by an assault, . . . The fate of a marriage is decided in 
the first night ". 6 It has often been pointed out that 

1 Balzac, op. cit., Meditation v. 

2 Ellen Key, Love and Marriage (New York & London, 1911), 
p. 83 sq. 

3 Stopes, op. cit. p. 88. 

4 Sofie Lazarsfeld, Rhythm of Life (London, 1934), p. 114. 

5 Vatsayana, op. cit. p. 127. 

6 Balzac, op. cit., Meditation v. 


the defloration performed by an unskilful and over-eager 
husband is a frequent cause of lasting frigidity in the 
wife. 1 Mrs. Sanger says that " the importance of 
the first step into the conjugal life cannot be over- 
emphasised. Initiation demands all the foresight, self- 
control and skill that the bridegroom can summon to 
his aid. . . . After the horrors of a bridal night, women 
have been known to leave inexperienced husbands for 
ever. . . . Through inexperience, ignorance, and a lack 
of self-control, due to excitement, many bridegrooms 
have recklessly thrown away all possibilities of sub- 
sequent happiness ". 2 Fortunately, however, such 
horrors of the bridal night seem to be exceptions rather 
than the rule. One of Dr. Hamilton's questions was: 
" Did you feel any reluctance or aversion to the act 
the first time you had sex intercourse with your hus- 
band? " Sixty-five of the hundred women answered 
it in the negative. Another question was: " Did your 
wife show aversion to the sex act the first time? " 
Seventy-one of the hundred men answered it in the 
negative. 3 Sixty-one of the women said that the first 
sex act did not cause them much pain, or that " it was 
painful but not seriously so ", or something similar. 
Fifty-seven said that it neither frightened, disgusted, 
nor surprised them; but only seventeen said, without 
reservation, that they enjoyed it. 4 Among the Moscow 
students mentioned above, the first coitus caused 
rapture and enhanced self-feeling in 28, but disgust, 
anxiety, and depression in 46. 5 In none of the cases 
now referred to is it said that the first coitus took place 
during the first night; it is often postponed, maybe even 

1 Adler, op. cit. p. 157 sq.\ Ellis, op. cit. 'Analysis of the Sexual 
Impulse ', etc., p. 189, vi. 526; P. Bjerre, Aktenskapets omdaning 
(Stockholm, 1928), p. 163. 

2 Sanger, op. cit. p. 89. 3 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 372 sq. 

4 Ibid. p. 148 sq. 

5 Weissenberg, in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft, xi. 12. 


for months. 1 It is not always, however, the husband's 
fault if the wedding-night becomes a tragedy. Of 65 
women belonging to the Hamilton group who had not 
had pre-marital intercourse, 23 answered in the negative 
his question, " Were you prepared by instruction before 
marriage to expect the sex act your wedding-night? " 
and ii answered " No " with reservations. 2 

It is said that in normal women there is a periodical 
ebb and flow of sexual desire which only too often 
escapes the husband's observation or his care. Accord- 
ing to Marie Stopes, there are fortnightly periods of 
desire, arranged so that one period comes always just 
before each menstrual flow, and the other period comes 
about eight or nine days after the close of menstruation. 
She maintains that this fortnightly rhythm funda- 
mentally affects the marriage relation, and that a 
husband who desires lasting and mutual happiness in 
marriage should carefully study his wife, observe how 
far she has a normal rhythm, and how far she has little 
personal traits. 3 Margaret Sanger likewise observes 
that the sexual desire in women consists of a series of 
wave-like periods determined by the monthly cycle. 
She says that " authorities and investigators are not in 
complete agreement upon the point when desire rises 
to its highest point. This undoubtedly varies in 
different women, according to age, climate, and general 
environment. . . . Intelligent husbands should make 
a thoughtful study of the inner nature of their wives and 
seek to carry to consummation their own amorous 
desires on the rising movement of this wave ". 4 

If sexual incompatibility is often due to the ignorance 
of the husband, it is also in no small measure due to 
the ignorance of the wife; although, as Montaigne 

1 Adler, op. cit. p. 158. 2 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 146. 

3 Stopes, op. cit. pp. 67, 73. 

4 Sanger, op. cit. p. 152 sq. See also K. F. Friedlaender, Die 
Impotenz des Weibes (Leipzig, 1921), p. 13. 


said, women may know more of love than men can 
teach them, because it is a discipline that is born in 
them. 1 A highly educated lady told Marie Stopes that, 
when she was about eighteen, she suffered many months 
of agonising apprehension that she was about to have a 
baby because a man had snatched a kiss from her lips at 
a dance; 2 and the belief that a kiss on the lips from a 
man may cause pregnancy is also found among girls in 
the United States, France, and Austria. 3 There are 
said to be English girls who, when they marry, are 
unaware that married life will bring them into physical 
relations with their husbands which are fundamentally 
different from those with their brothers. 4 An American 
doctor writes: " Many a woman has told me that she 
expected from marriage a prolongation of her betrothal 
days, with more intensity; that a bunch of flowers or a 
box of sweets would be the daily contribution of her 
husband to her happiness, and that her responsibilities 
would be confined to keeping the flowers in fresh water 
and the sweets in appropriate bowls ". 5 Of the 992 
educated married women belonging to the Davis group 
who answered \he question, " Had you been at all 
adequately prepared by instruction for the sex side of 
marriage? " 438 stated that they had no preparation 
at all; and many of those who answered the question 
in the affirmative, altogether 554, or 55-8 per cent., 
revealed by their answers how inadequate were their 
notions concerning " adequate preparation ". Some 
thought a knowledge of contraception all that was 
wanted, and a few mentioned the duty of a wife to 

1 Montaigne, Essais, book iii. ch. 5. 

2 Stopes, op. cit. p. 52 sq. 

3 Olga Knopf, The Art of Being a Woman (London, 1932), p. 101; 
Ellis, op. cit. vi. 79; idem, More Essays of Love and Virtue (London, 
1931), p. 5 sq. 

1 Stopes, op. cit. p. 52. 

5 J. Collins, The Doctor Looks at Love and Life (London, 1926), 
p. 41. 



submit to her husband as a satisfactory basis for married 
life. 1 The average age of all those women was thirty- 
eight, so that their youth belonged to a period when the 
knowledge of matters relating to sex was even less than 
it is at present. Nowadays there is more instruction in 
this respect; in some countries, as Germany and the 
United States, public lectures are given on sexual 
hygiene; 2 the University of Konigsberg has a chair of 
sexual science, Berlin its Institute of the same science. 3 
The movement of enlightenment really commenced in 
the eighteenth century, 4 although it afterwards came to 
a standstill. Musitanus' book, De morbis midierum 
tractatus, published in 1709, anticipated even in little 
details Van de Velde's present-day attempts to teach 
married people the A B C of sex. 

It is to be hoped that increased enlightenment will, 
to some extent, diminish marital unhappiness. It was 
recognised to do so already in ancient India, where 
Vatsayana expressed the opinion that ignorance of how 
to perform the sexual act in young men leads to many 
family disasters and that, consequently, all young people 
who are about to marry should be taugKt this science in 
all its details. 5 If we compare the women in the 
Davis group who considered their marriages happy 
with those who considered them unhappy, the differ- 
ence in the percentages of women who had, and those 
who had not, received specific preparation for the sex 
side of marriage certainly suggests that proper prepara- 
tion is a factor for happiness; 6 and so also the women 

1 Davis, op. cit. p. 62 sqq. 

2 Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. 83; H. K. Hollister, 
* Sex Education in the YJVLC.A.', in Birth Control Review, 1931 
(New York), p. 207 sq. 

3 Norman Haire, op. cit. p. 80. P.S. Recently suppressed. 

4 H. Vorwahl, * Die Sexualitat im Zeitalter der Aufklarung ', in 
Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1929), p. 555 sqq. 

5 Vatsayana, op. cit. p. 135. G Davis, op. cit. p. 67. 


belonging to the Dickinson-Beam group who had re- 
ceived pre-marital examination and instruction were 
more generally successful in making their adaptations 
in marriage than were those who had not had such 
professional assistance. 1 At the same time, however 
useful such instruction may be, we must not forget 
the difference between knowledge and behaviour. Dr. 
Hamilton says he has encountered a discouragingly 
large number of spouses who have failed to obtain any 
substantial and lasting relief from sexual maladjust- 
ments by reading and attempting to profit by the 
always optimistic literature of erotology. 2 

The sexual impulse also endangers marriage through 
its deceitfulness: even when raised to the rank of love 
it frequently leads to early marriages that soon come to 
an unhappy end. It is not quite so blind as it is 
proverbially said to be. It is stimulated by useful 
qualities in the opposite sex: by physical beauty, which 
implies the full and healthy development of those 
visible properties that are essential to the human 
organism, or tg the sex, or to the race. They are all 
the outward manifestations of physical perfection or 
fitness, and the instinctive preference for them is 
therefore evidently within the power of natural selec- 
tion. 3 But they are useful in connection with the 
propagation of the species, as tending to produce a 
vigorous and healthy offspring; on the other hand, 
they are no guarantees for lasting unions between the 
sexes. Personal appearance may also excite the sexual 
instinct as expression of mental qualities; emotional, 
moral, and intellectual qualities may act as stimulants 
by evoking affection, approbation, or admiration. But 
under the influence of an impetuous sexual impulse 

1 Dickinson and Beam, op. cit. p. 85. 

2 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 159. 

3 See E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, ii. 
(London, 1921), p. 4 sqq. 


such qualities are easily exaggerated beyond all reason, 
and the beloved person acquires, in the imagination of 
the lover, an immeasurable superiority over all others. 
He is seen, not as he is, but as he appears irradiated by 
a delusive light. 

Love-matches, especially early ones, easily come to 
grief. This is a very common observation. 1 Mon- 
taigne writes: "I see no marriages where the conjugal 
intelligence sooner fails, than those that we contract 
upon the account of beauty and amorous desires; there 
should be more solid and constant foundation, and 
they should proceed with greater circumspection; this 
furious ardour is worth nothing. Those who think they 
honour marriage by joining love to it, do, methinks, 
like those who, to favour virtue, hold that nobility 
is nothing else but virtue/* 2 Balzac asks: " What 
sensible father would think of marrying his son at 
twenty? The danger of these precocious unions is too 
well known. It seems that marriage is the opposite of 
all natural acts, since it demands a special maturity of 
reason. Everyone knows the saying, of Rousseau: 
* There must always be a period of licence, at one age if 
not at another; a leaven is only bad which ferments too 
soon or too late '. And what mother would risk her 
daughter's happiness by exposing her to the risk of 
this fermentation, when it is not past and over?" 3 

1 See e.g. R. Michels, Sexual Ethics (London & Felling-on-Tyne, 
1914), p. 170 sq.\ Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. 378 sq., 
vii. (1928), p. 517; H. Keyserling, * The Correct Statement of the 
Marriage Problem ', in The Book of Marriage (New York [1926]), 
p. 6; Bjerre, op. cit. p. 142; Russell, op. cit. p. 221; A. Moll, 
Handbuch der Sexualwissenschaften (Leipzig, 1912), p. 439; R. 
Miiller-Freienfels, ' Zur Psychologic der erotischen Selektion ', in 
Zeitschrift ftir Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1928), p. 101; Crete Meisel-Hess, The Sexual Crisis (New 
York, 1917), p. 54. 

2 Montaigne, op. cit. book iii. ch. 5 (English translation, iii. 
[London, 1877], p. 84). 

3 Balzac, op. cit., Meditation iv. (English translation, p. 44). 


Schopenhauer quotes in support of his own opinion 
the Spanish proverb, " Quien se casa por amores, ha de 
vivir con dolores " (" He who marries for love has to 
live in sorrow ").* Lord Beaconsfield wrote in his 
younger days: "All my friends who have married for 
love and beauty either beat their wives or live apart 
from them. This is literally the case. I may commit 
many follies in life, but I never intend to marry for 
* love ', which I am sure is a guarantee of infelicity ". 2 
"It is a well-known fact ", says Bloch, " that . . . 
marriages of reason are often more enduring than love- 
marriages. This depends upon the nature of human 
love, which is by no means inalterable, but changes 
in accordance with the various developmental phases 
of the individual, needs new incitements and new 
individual relationships. . . . All those who are well 
acquainted with humanity, all poets and psychologists, 
are in agreement respecting the fugitive character of 
youthful love. For this reason they advise against 
marriage concluded during the passion of early youth ". 3 
Loewenfeld pqints to cases of so-called " marriages of 
convenience ", which had in the first instance been 
entered into without any expectation of marital happi- 
ness, and yet in the course of years took on a form 
that converted connubial fellowship into a source of 
purest conjugal happiness for both parties concerned. 4 
Though love is commonly considered to be the proper 
motive for a marriage, it is, after all, more important 
that the parties should love each other after marriage 
than before. 

In France it is suitability rather than sexual passion 
that is regarded as the best foundation for marriage, 

1 A. Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, ii. 
(Sammtliche Werke, iii. [Leipzig, 1916]), p. 640. 

2 Quoted by A. Maurois, Disraeli (London, 1929), p. 67. 

3 I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time (London, 1908), p. 204. 

4 L. Loewenfeld, On Conjugal Happiness (London, 1912), p. 19. 


and the parents have quite a great deal to say in the 
matter. There and in other Latin countries the 
Roman notions of paternal rights and filial duties have 
to some extent survived throughout the Middle Ages 
and till modern times. According to the French 
Code Civil, a son under twenty-five and a daughter 
under twenty-one could not, until 1907, marry without 
the consent of their parents; 1 and between the ages of 
twenty-one and thirty they must still ask for it, although, 
if it is refused, the matter can be regulated by means of 
an act before a notary, and in case the consent is not 
given within thirty days the marriage can take place 
without it. 2 Van de Velde says that " quite a number 
of modern men and women have regretfully had to 
admit to themselves, during the course of their marriage, 
that the victory they gained once over their parents' 
opposition has led to their own unhappiness ". 3 But 
there is nothing that " Modern Youth " would oppose 
more violently than any attempt on the part of their 
parents to interfere with their sex life. The economic 
obstacle to early marriage may be to some extent 
removed by contraception, and on the other hand 
contraception may also be a remedy for it by facilitating 
non-matrimonial intercourse. Timerding advocates 
easier divorce for a couple who have married early in 
life. 4 Others think that trial unions of some kind or 
other will, more frequently than at present, help to put 
off marriage till a later age. 

A peculiarity of the sexual instinct which creates 
much disturbance in married life is its taste for variety. 
It is dulled by long familiarity and stimulated by 

1 Code civil, art. 148. 2 Ibid. arts. 148-151, 154. 

3 Th. H. van de Velde, Sex Hostility in Marriage (London, 1931), 

4 H. E. Timerding, quoted by K. Finkenrath, * Das Problem der 
ledigen Frau ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft y xii. (Bonn, 1925), 
p. 181. 


novelty. This is true both of animals and men. 
Montaigne wrote: " I was fain to turn out into the 
paddock an old stallion, as he was not to be governed 
when he smelt a mare: the facility presently sated him 
as towards his own, but towards strange mares, and the 
first that passed by the pale of his pasture, he would 
again fall to his importunate neighing and his furious 
heats as before ". l Mr. Heape thinks that all breeders 
will agree that animals brought into contact with 
strangers experience increased sexual stimulation. 2 
Dr. Hamilton, basing his observations on eighteen 
macaques and two baboons at his laboratory in Cali- 
fornia, states that continuous confinement of one male 
with one female resulted in a marked diminution of 
sexual enthusiasm in both, particularly in the male, a 
condition which the animals sought to remedy by special 
stimulations; whereas vigour was immediately restored 
by supplying each with a new mate. 3 

There is a saying that " marriage is the death of 
love ", and this may be true enough if by love is meant 
sensual desire; as in the frivolous French ditty: 

Quand on est en menage 
On se voit sans desir, 
Mais hors de mariage 
II fait toujours plaisir. 4 

If love is taken in this sense, Dr. Bloch may be right in 
stating: " The eternal uniformity of daily companion- 
ship puts love to sleep, damps its ardour, and even gives 

1 Montaigne, op. cit. book ii. ch. 15 (English translation, ii. 
[London, 1905], p. 330). 

2 W. Heape, Sex Antagonism (London, 1913), p. 63. 

3 G. V. Hamilton (in Journal of Animal Behavior, iv. [1914]), 
quoted by G. S. Miller, ' Some Elements of Sexual Behavior in 
Primates and Their Possible Influence on the Beginnings of Human 
Social Development ', in Journal of Mammalogy^ ix. (1928), p. 279. 

4 W. Borgius, * Ehereform? * in Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft 
und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 392. 


rise to a sense of latent or open hatred between a 
married pair. This hatred is observed most frequently 
in love matches 'V It is a matter of ordinary experience 
that sexual indifference and a desire for new gratifica- 
tions of the sexual impulse are frequent causes of 
divorce; and according to Von Oettingen, the statistics 
of divorce and remarriage in Europe show that the 
taste for variety, in many cases, is the chief cause of it. 2 
Here again certain answers given to Dr. Hamilton's 
questions may be of some interest. Thirty-three of the 
women stated categorically that they did not crave 
variety of sex experience in the sense of having sex 
desire directed toward men other than their husbands; 
while only 6 of the men said they did not crave variety of 
sex experience, and 20 said they were not naturally 
polygamous. Forty-one of the men and 29 of the 
women said they craved such variety. 3 To the question, 
" If your spouse has ceased to be sexually attractive to 
you, how do you account for this fact? " 12 of the men 
gave the answer that the cause of it was desire for 
variety, the lack of novelty, being with Jher continually, 
or something similar; while 2 of the women said the 
cause was continued intimacy or too much proximity. 4 
These figures seem to lend support to the opinion that 
the feminine love of variety is less acute than the 

Attempts are made to gratify the desire for variety 
and relieve the monotony within the matrimonial 
boundary. " Each night should have its menu ", says 
Balzac; " there is a devouring monster that marriage 
should instantly combat, its name is habit. If a man 
cannot make a difference between the pleasures of two 

1 Bloch, op. cit. p. 209. 

2 A. von Oettingen, Die Moralstatistik in Direr Eedeutung fur eine 
Socialethik (Erlangen, 1882), p. 150. 

3 Hamilton, op. cit. pp. 368, 390. 

4 Ibid. p. 1 66 sq. 


successive nights, he has married too soon ", 1 Medical 
writers describe and advocate a great variety of sex 
plays and many variations of method of performing the 
act itself, and are convinced that such plays and varia- 
tions are not only permissible to spouses, but are of 
definite value for overcoming marital sex maladjust- 
ments. Dr. Hamilton's tables give us an idea both of 
their multifariousness and their frequency. 2 Separate 
beds for the married couple, which on the Continent has 
long been looked upon as a matter of course, and, 
better still, separate bedrooms, may also serve the same 
ultimate purpose. " When a husband and wife sleep 
in separate rooms, you may know that they are either 
virtually divorced, or that they have learnt the secret of 
happiness; they either abominate or they adore one 
another ". 3 Ellen Key believes that in another gen- 
eration separate dwellings will perhaps have ceased to 
attract attention. 4 But nothing can more effectively 
counteract the craving for variety than the feeling of 
conjugal love. While the sensual desire is abated by 
frequent gratification, the spiritual side of love has a 
tendency to increase in the course of time. The sexual 
element is pushed into the background, and can no 
longer disturb the harmonious relation between husband 
and wife. Unfortunately, however, many marriages do 
not turn out to be so successful. The craving for 
change often finds its outlet in adultery. 

1 Balzac, op. cit., Meditation v. 

2 Hamilton, op. cit. pp. 158, 178 sq. 
y Balzac, op. cit., Meditation xvii. 

4 Key, op. cit. p. 390. 



DESIRE for variety is, of course, not the only cause of 
adultery. A married man or woman may for some 
other reason prefer sexual intercourse with an out- 
sider to connubial intercourse, or may be guilty of un- 
faithfulness on account of long absence from the 
spouse or in a case of intoxication. In the latter 
cases" especially, but also in some others, the relations 
between husband and wife may persist without any 
serious disturbance. 

"A couple ", says Dr. Tenenbaum, " may love each 
other and enjoy mutual happiness despite the occasional 
faux pas due to temperamental lapses 01; chance seduc- 
tion ".* This statement is confirmed by some of Dr. 
Hamilton's tables. Twenty-eight men and 24 women 
out of one hundred married men and an equal number 
of married women examined by him acknowledged that 
they had committed adultery. The distribution of 
these cases according to their rating as to the present 
degree of satisfaction with the marriage as a whole 
showed that 28-57 per cent, of the adulterous men and 
16-67 per cent, of the adulterous women belonged to 
the satisfied group, while 59-72 per cent, of the men and 
53-96 per cent, of the women who had not committed 
adultery belonged to that group. 2 Judge Lindsey, 
also, remarks that physical infidelity, according to 

1 J. Tenenbaum, The Riddle of Sex (London, 1930), p. 195. 

2 G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage (New York, 1929), 

PP- 395>54 I - 



his experience and observation, does not necessarily 
injure or destroy the spiritual relationship of marriage: 
" what would destroy one marriage has no effect on 
another marriage. These matters are for individual 
decision, based on culture, fineness of feeling, good 
sense, sensitiveness and good taste n . 1 According to 
Van de Velde, it is only very rarely that adultery is the 
sole ground for married hostility. " In a harmonious 
marriage, harmonious also from the sexual point of 
view, the woman is only rarely inclined to be unfaithful, 
and, further, fights such an inclination with all her 
power and almost always successfully. The man may, 
perhaps, run more risk of being dominated by sexual 
feelings for another woman, or wish to satisfy his will 
to power by overcoming her resistance. He will also 
more easily yield to such latent tendencies, but this 
will not cause hostility in a marriage which is otherwise! 
harmonious. Certainly not in the man, because both the 
sexual and the other ties that bind him to his wife are 
by far the most powerful. Nor in the woman, because, 
in an otherwise happy marriage, her love is so great 
and her attachment so strong, that she forgives. This, 
if it is done with taste and graciousness, strengthens 
the marriage bond to a marked degree ". He adds that 
it is quite a different matter when disharmony has 
already existed between the married pair, particularly if 
they disagree regarding the fulfilment of their sexual 
desires. 2 Adultery, says Mr. Haynes, " may mean 5 , 
anything or nothing: it may mean nothing more than 
the caprices of sexual appetite (which are by no means 
incompatible with a perfectly sincere devotion to a 
spouse who has become a lifelong friend and partner) 
or it may be the culminating expression of a fixed 

1 B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans, The Companionate 
Marriage (London, 1928), p. 278. 

2 Th. H. van de Velde, Sex Hostility in Marriage (London, 1931), 
p. 102 sq. 


detestation by one spouse of the other, accompanied by 
every kind of cruelty and treachery. The desire for 
Divorce is far oftener due to the incompatibility of the 
parties than to sexual vagaries ".* 

Speaking of adultery committed by the husband, 
Hedwig Wega points out that if it is a purely sensual 
act, it does not always disturb the relations between 
him and his wife, and that if the latter " feels sure of 
enjoying her husband's friendship and respect, if their 
domestic life is harmonious even after the event, she 
may consider whether she does right in dissolving her 
marriage only because his nature, which is more sensual 
than hers, led him astray ", 2 Another female writer, 
Gabriele Reuter, says that it is for a woman's own good 
and for that of her children more important that her 
husband should show her love, respect, and friendship 
than that he should preserve unconditional physical 
faithfulness. 3 Pepys shows in his Diary that in spite of 
his irresistible passion for sexual variety and his con- 
stantly recurring wayward attraction to a long series of 
women, he retains throughout a deep ;md unchanging 
affection for his charming young wife; and neither he 
nor his wife had the very slightest wish to leave each 
other. The bond of marriage remained firm, even 
though it had been degraded by insincerity on one side 
and the jealous endeavour on the other to secure fidelity 
by compulsion. 4 Milton wrote: " The adultery is not 
the greatest breach of matrimony. . . . He who affirms 
adultery to be the highest breach, affirms the bed to be 

1 E. S. P. Haynes, Divorce as It Might Be (Cambridge, 1915), 

P-4- . 

2 Hedwig Wega, * Uber Ehe, freie Liebe und Freundschaft 

zwischen Mann und Weib ', in Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft, vi. 
(Bonn, 1919-1920), p. 67 sq. 

3 Gabriele Reuter, quoted by I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our 
Time (London, 1908), p. 199. 

4 See Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. (Phila- 
delphia, 1923), pp. 495, 568. 


the highest of marriage, which is in truth a gross and 
boorish opinion, how common soever; as far from the 
countenance of Scripture, as from the light of all clean 
philosophy or civilisation ". l 

Adultery does not generally lead to divorce which, 
of course, does not imply absence of marital dissatis- 
faction, since there may be various reasons for not 
dissolving the marriage. Michels even says that it is 
only in an exceedingly small fraction of cases that 
adultery results in divorce; 2 and Traumann, another 
authority on the subject, maintains that when it is the 
juridical ground for divorce it very rarely is the real 
ground. 3 Where the law recognises no other ground, 
as in England, adultery naturally becomes a pretext for 
all sorts of reasons. Taking the American statistics, 
we find that, in 1867, 33 per cent, of all divorces were 
granted for adultery, 41 for desertion, and 13 for 
cruelty; whilst in 1928, 9 were granted for adultery, 
32 for desertion, and 47 for cruelty. Dr. Cahen explains 
this remarkable decrease of divorces granted for adultery 
by saying that " the increasing leniency of the courts in 
interpreting mental cruelty no longer makes it necessary 
for any considerable proportion of couples to bear the 
shameful publicity of a divorce trial on infidelity ". 4 
According to answers given by a group of students 
belonging to various institutions in Kharkov in 1926, 
22-6 per cent, of the divorces which had occurred among 
them had been effected by men for marital differences 
of an " ideal " character and only 12-5 per cent, for 
adultery, while 9 per cent, had been brought about by 

1 J. Milton, * The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce ', in The 
Prose Works of, i. (London, 1806), p. 367 sq. 

2 R. Michels, Sittlichkeit in Ziffern? (Miinchen & Leipzig, 1928), 
p. 117. 

3 Traumann, * Arzt und Reform des Eherechts ', in Zeitschrift 
fur Sexualwissenschaft) xiv. (Berlin & Koln, 1927), p. 190. 

4 A. Cahen, Statistical Analysis of American Divorce (New York, 
J 932), p. 35 sqq. 


women on account of adultery. 1 

In humanity at large adultery is the most generally 
recognised ground of divorce. Among many un- 
civilised peoples unfaithfulness on the part of the wife 
seems to be the only, or almost the only, ground 
recognised by tribal custom; but we also hear of a few 
who do not consider a man justified in repudiating his 
wife on account of adultery, even though he may do so 
for some other cause. In exceptional cases we are told 
that the wife has a right to divorce an unfaithful 
husband. 2 According to Chinese law the husband is 
liable to punishment if he retains an adulterous wife; 3 
whereas " the idea of a wife divorcing her husband for 
adultery, or for any reason whatever, is one which 
excites a smile, as absurd and preposterous, whenever 
mentioned to the Chinese ". 4 The divorce law of the 
Japanese Taiho Code was substantially the same as 
that in China; the infidelity of a married woman was a 
recognised ground of divorce, particularly because her 
crime caused a confusion of blood whereby a person 
not in reality related to the ancestors ipight succeed to 
the worship. 5 The right of the husband to divorce 
his wife at his pleasure is the central thought in the 
entire system of Jewish N divorce law; and the Rabbis 
neither did nor could set it aside, although they gradu- 
ally tempered its severity by numerous restrictive 
measures. On the other hand, the Jewish law has 

1 Z. A. Gurewitsch and F. J. Grosser, ' Das Geschlechtsleben der 
Gegenwart ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, 
xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 537 sq. 

2 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, iii. (London, 
1921), p. 288 sqq. 

3 Ta Tsing Leu Lee, translated by G. T. Staunton (London, 1810), 
sec. cxvi. p. 1 20. 

4 J. Doolittle, Social Life of the Chinese, i. (New York, 1867), 
p. 106. 

6 N. Hozumi, Ancestor-Worship and Japanese Law (Tokyo, etc., 
I 9 I 3)>P- HS- 


never given the wife a right to divorce her husband; 
but the Mishnah allowed her to sue for divorce, and if 
the court decided that she was entitled to be divorced 
the husband was forced to give her a bill of divorce, 
although he was supposed to give it of his own free 
will and accord. The causes for which she could 
demand such a bill became gradually more numerous; 
but although she could do so if the husband was guilty 
of notorious dissoluteness of morals, simple adultery 
on his part is not, at Jewish law, a sufficient ground 
for divorce. According to Mohammedan law the 
husband may repudiate his wife whenever he pleases, 
whereas the wife can never divorce her husband; she 
may take steps leading to the dissolution of her marriage, 
but she could never prefer a complaint before the 
judge because of her husband's unfaithfulness. 1 Such 
a thing is naturally out of the question where polygyny 
is a legal institution. 

In ancient Greece, according to Attic law, the 
husband could repudiate his wife whenever he liked, 
and if she had Ijeen convicted of adultery it was neces- 
sary for him to divorce her, condonation of the offence 
being visited by atimia, or infamy; but the licence of 
husbands was taken as a matter of course. In the 
Roman v law a wife in manu, i.e. one who was in her 
husband's power, could neither require nor prevent a 
divorce, and the husband's legal authority in regard to 
the dissolution of a marriage with manus was as absolute 
as it was in regard to the other incidents of such a 
marriage. Gradually, however, marriage with manus 
fell into disuse, and was, under the Empire, generally 
superseded by marriage without manus y which con- 
ferred on the husband hardly any authority at all over 
his wife, and the dissolution of which could be brought 
about by the will of either party. 2 According to the 

1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 307 sqq. 
2 Ibid. iii. 318 sqq. 


old customary law of the Teutonic peoples, the husband 
was entitled to repudiate his wife if she was guilty of 
conjugal infidelity, but the wife had originally no right 
to dissolve the marriage. In the Prankish period she 
could, according to some law-books, effect a divorce or 
leave her husband if he was convicted of adultery an 
innovation which has been traced to the influence of 
Christian ideas^ 1 

Christianity revolutionised European legislation with 
regard to divorce. According to the New Testament, 
a man who puts away his wife and marries another 
commits adultery against her, and a woman who puts 
away or deserts her husband and is married to an- 
other is guilty of a similar crime. But there are two 
exceptions to this rule. Christ taught, according to 
St. Matthew, that a man might put away his wife for 
fornication, but for no other reason; 'and St. Paul lays 
down the rule, that if a Christian is married to an un- 
believer and the latter departs, the Christian " is not 
under bondage '\ Gradually, however, the Western 
Church made up ner mind to deny the. dissolubility of 
a consummated Christian marriage; 2 and this decision 
influenced profoundly the secular legislation in Roman 
Catholic countries. But it was rejected by the Re- 
formers. They all agreed that divorce, with liberty for 
the innocent party to remarry, should be granted for 
adultery; and prevailing opinion among the Fathers of 
English Protestantism appears also to have accorded a 
similar privilege to the wife on like provocation, al- 
though there were undoubtedly some in the Protestant 
ranks who were not so liberal in her behalf. But in the 
Foljambe case, in 1602, the old canon law was re- 
vived; and only in the civil divorce law of 1857 the 
legal principle that a valid English marriage could not 
be dissolved by judicial authority was at last abandoned. 

1 The History of Human Marriage y iii. 325 sq. 
2 Ibid. iii. 327 sq. 


Divorce could be granted to a husband whose wife had 
been guilty of adultery, but to the wife only if her 
husband had been guilty of incestuous adultery, bigamy 
with adultery, rape, sodomy, bestiality, or adultery 
coupled with cruelty or with desertion without reason- 
able excuse for two years and upwards. 1 In 1923 the 
equality of the sexes in obtaining divorce was conceded: 
the husband's adultery alone was made sufficient ground 
for granting a divorce to the wife. 

On the Continent a fresh impetus to a more liberal 
legislation on divorce was given in the eighteenth 
century by the new philosophy with its conceptions of 
human freedom and natural rights. In France they 
led to the law of 1792, which granted divorce on a great 
variety of grounds. But twelve years later this law 
was superseded by the new provisions in Napoleon's 
Civil Code, which made divorce more difficult; thus 
though a husband always could obtain a divorce from 
his unfaithful wife, a wife could obtain it from her 
unfaithful husband only when he had kept his mistress 
in the common* house. At the Restoration in 1816 
divorce was abolished in France; but it was re-enacted 
by a law of 1884, the provisions of which were simpli- 
fied by later laws. The divorce law of the Napoleonic 
Code was again introduced, but with some changes, 
one of which was that a wife could in all circumstances 
obtain a divorce for the adultery of her husband. 2 In 
other modern laws, also, the spouses are as a rule on a 
footing of perfect equality, but there are some excep- 
tions to the rule. Whilst any act of adultery in the 
wife is everywhere a sufficient cause for dissolving the 
marriage, there are countries in which adultery on the 
part of the husband only in certain circumstances gives 
the wife a right to demand a divorce. 3 

1 TheHistory of Human Marriage, m. 334 sqq. 2 Ibid. in. 338 sqq. 
3 Ibid. iii. 343, 344, 358, 359 n. n; J. K. Folsom, The Family 
(New York, 1934), p. 362 (Texas, Kentucky, North Carolina). 



From this survey of facts it appears that with regard 
to divorce a difference between the infidelity of a 
husband and that of a wife has very commonly been 
made by custom or law; and the same is the case with 
regard to judicial separation in Roman Catholic 
countries where divorce is prohibited. 1 We notice a 
similar difference in the penalties attached to adultery. 
A man who commits adultery with another man's wife 
may certainly have to suffer. Among savages he has 
very commonly to pay with his life; and even among 
many peoples who generally prohibit self-redress he 
may be put to death by the aggrieved husband, especially 
if he be caught flagrante delicto. 2 In other cases he 
may be subject to capital punishment in the proper 
sense of the word; this was his fate according to Hebrew 
law, and Christian legislators followed the example. 3 
Among a considerable number of savage peoples, 
especially in Africa, it is the seducer only who suffers, 
while the unfaithful wife escapes without punishment; 
but more commonly she, also, is treated as an offender, 
being discarded, beaten, or ill-treated .in some way or 
other, and not infrequently killed. Often, too, she is 
disfigured by her enraged husband in such a way as to 
be deprived of her attractions: he bites or cuts off her 
nose, or cuts off one or both of her ears or her hair, or 
shaves her head. A similar punishment has figured 
even in European law-books; according to a law of 
Cnut, an adulteress shall have her nose and ears cut off. 4 

It is obviously the rule among savage and barbarous 
tribes that while conjugal fidelity is considered a 
stringent duty in the wife, it is not considered so in the 
husband, although there are interesting exceptions to 
the rule; and among the peoples of ancient civilisation 

1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 357 sq. 

2 E. Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral 
Ideas , i. (London, 1912), p. 290 sqq. 3 Ibid. ii. (1917), p. 447 sq. 

4 The History of Human Marriage ', i. 313 sq. 


the law requires faithfulness of the wife alone. In 
China, where adultery in a woman was branded as one 
of the vilest crimes and the guilty wife was oftentimes 
" cut into small pieces " (according to the present law, 
the punishment is only imprisonment for a period not 
exceeding two years), 1 a man can with impunity commit 
adultery with an unmarried woman. In Japan, " while 
the man is allowed a loose foot, the woman is expected 
not only to be absolutely spotless, but also never to 
show any jealousy, however wide the husband may 
roam ". According to Hebrew law adultery was a 
capital offence, but it presupposed that the guilty 
woman was another man's wife. The Indo-European 
nations in early times saw nothing objectionable in the 
unfaithfulness of a married man, whereas an adulterous 
wife was subject to the severest penalties. Until some 
time after the introduction of Christianity among the 
Teutons their law-books made no mention of the 
infidelity of husbands, because it was permitted by 
custom. The Romans defined adultery as sexual 
intercourse with another man's wife; on the other hand, 
the intercourse of a married man with an unmarried 
woman was not regarded as adultery. 2 At the same 
time the idea that fidelity in marriage ought to be 
reciprocal was not altogether unknown in classical 
antiquity. In a lost chapter of his Economics, which 
has come to us only through a Latin translation, 
Aristotle points out that, for various reasons, it is 
prudent for a man to be faithful to his wife, but that 
nothing is so peculiarly the property of a wife as a chaste 
and hallowed intercourse. 3 Plutarch condemns the 
man who, lustful and dissolute, goes astray with a 

1 B. Steinwallner, ' Das neue chinesische Sexualstrafrecht ', in 
Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xviii. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1931), p. 202. 

2 The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, ii. 451 sqq. 

3 Aristotle, Oeconomica, p. 341. Cf. Isocrates, Nicocles s'ive 
Cyprii, 40. 


courtesan or maid-servant; though at the same time he 
admonishes the wife not to be vexed or impatient, 
considering that " it is out of respect to her that he 
bestows upon another all his wanton depravity 'V 
Plautus argues that it is unjust of a husband to exact a 
fidelity which he does not keep himself. 2 

In its condemnation of adultery Christianity made 
no distinction between husband and wife. If continence 
is a stringent duty for unmarried persons independently 
of their sex, the observance of the sacred marriage vow 
must be so in a still higher degree. Yet even in some 
Christian countries the law makes a distinction between 
the adultery of a husband and that of a wife, apart from 
the rules relating to divorce or separation. The French 
code considers it " excusable " if a husband kills his 
adulterous wife in the act; 3 and it makes such a wife 
liable to imprisonment, while the adultery of a husband 
is punishable only if he keeps a concubine in the con- 
jugal domicile, and then the punishment is merely a 
fine. 4 According to the Spanish penal code of 1928, 
the adultery of a wife is likewise punishable in all 
circumstances, but that of a husband only if he keeps 
his accomplice in the house or, otherwise, if his behaviour 
gives rise to scandal. 5 So also, according to the Italian 
code of 1930, the adultery of a wife, called adulterio, is 
punishable in any case, but that of a husband, called 
concubinato, only if he keeps his mistress in his home or 
if he keeps her elsewhere " notoriously ", 6 In modern 
legislation adultery, if punishable at all, is generally an 
indictable offence; 7 but, as a matter of fact, it is very 

1 Plutarch, Conjugalia prtecepta y 16. 2 Plautus, Merca tor, iv. 5. 

3 Code ptnal) art. 324. 4 Ibid. arts. 337, 339. 

5 Codigo penal, art. 620 sqq. 6 Codice penale^ art. 559 sq. 

1 E. H. Kisch, Die sexuelle Untreue der Frau y i. (Bonn, 1918), 
p. 19; D. M. Kauschansky, * Die personliche und wirtschaftliche 
Lage der Frau in der Ehe nach europaischem Recht ', in Zeitschrift 
fiir Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xviii. (Berlin & Koln, 
I93 1 ). P- 3?8. 


rarely punished. 1 In England an Act passed in the 
middle of the seventeenth century made the adultery of 
a wife (nothing is said of a husband) felony, both for her 
and her partner in guilt, and therefore punishable by 
death; 2 but this Act fell with the fall of the Common- 
wealth. 3 Parliament has never acted to deprive the 
Church of her jurisdiction over adultery, but no attempt 
to make it punishable by the criminal law has succeeded. 4 
In the United States, where the Puritan tradition as to 
sexual offences is dying more slowly than it died in 
England, there are only two states that have no provision 
whatsoever for the punishment of adultery, whilst in 
eighteen other states a single act of adultery is not itself 
a criminal offence. 5 The Russian Soviet law takes no 
notice of adultery. 6 

That a married man enjoys more liberty than a 
married woman is largely due to the same causes as 
make him the more privileged partner in other respects. 
The infidelity of his wife is often, in a sense, an offence 
against property, while this is not the case with his own 
infidelity; and .whether, or how far, the latter is stigma- 
tised as an offence against the wife, chiefly depends 
upon the degree of regard which is paid to the feelings 
of women. But there are also more special reasons 
for that inequality between the sexes. It was a doc- 
trine of the Roman jurists that adultery is a crime in the 
wife, and in the wife only, on account of the danger of 

1 W. Mittermaier, Der Ehebruch (Bonn, 1919), p. 18; W. 
Borgius, * Ehereform? ' in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und 
Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 393. 

2 H. Scobell, A Collection of Acts and Ordinances of General Use, 
made in the Parliament, pt. ii. (London, 1657), p. 121. 

3 W. Shephard, A Sure Guide for His Majesties Justices of Peace 
(London, 1663), p. 460. 

4 G. May, Social Control of Sex Expression (London, 1930), 
pp. 174, 176. 

6 Ibid. p. 203. 

6 M. Hindus, Humanity Uprooted (London, etc., 1929), p. 88. 


introducing strange children to the husband; 1 a result 
of this would be that his property descended to a 
person who was not his own child. Moreover, the 
temptation to infidelity and the facility in indulging 
in it are commonly greater in the case of the husband 
than in that of the wife, and. .actual practice is apt to 
influence moral opinion. Another reason for the in- 
equality in question is undoubtedly the general notion 
that unchastity of any kind is more discreditable for a 
woman than for a man. And finally, it is a frequent 
observation that the adultery of the wife has a more 
disorganising effect on the domestic life than the 
adultery of the husband. 

These points of difference have been emphasised 
by various writers, who do not suggest, however, that 
adultery should be a legal ground for divorce solely 
when committed by the husband. Michels remarks 
that " the adulterous wife unquestionably commits a 
more inconsiderate and more blameworthy act than the 
adulterous husband for the former deceives doubly 
by fathering upon her husband the children of another 
man ". 2 This would more likely be the case if the 
popular belief that an unfaithful wife is more apt to 
conceive with her lover than with her husband could 
be proved to be true. It is supported by Kisch, who, 
like Matthews Duncan before him, 3 thinks it probable 
that sexual excitement on the woman's part is an im- 
portant link in the chain of conditions producing 
impregnation. 4 It has been argued that the danger 
of confusion of pregnancy has disappeared with the 

1 W. A. Hunter, A Systematical and Historical Exposition of 
Roman Law (London, 1885), p. 1071. 

2 R. Michels, Sexual Ethics (London & Felling-on-Tyne, 1914), 
p. 136. 

3 J. M. Duncan, Guhtonian Lectures on Sterility in Woman 
(London, 1884), p. 96. 

4 E. H. Kisch, Die Sterilitdt des Weibes (Wien & Leipzig, 1886), 
p. 99; idem, The Sexual Life of Woman (London, s.d.), p. 524 sqq. 


development of methods for preventing conception, 1 
but it is anything but certain that the lovers trouble 
themselves about contraceptives. Von Krafft-Ebing 
writes: " The unfaithfulness of a wife in comparison 
with that of a husband, is morally much more weighty, 
and should be more severely punished legally. The 
unfaithful wife dishonours not only herself, but also 
her husband and her family, not to speak of the possi- 
bility of pater incertus ". 2 " The man ", says Kisch, 
" can make a lapse in his marriage without the conse- 
quences of it being necessarily of vital importance; he 
can at any moment do remorseful penance without 
the mischief he has caused being irreparable. The 
infidelity of the wife poisons the soul for ever, shakes 
the foundation of the harmony between mother and 
children, makes the legitimacy of the latter uncertain, 
and leads to an irremediable rupture of the domestic 
life ". 3 Hedwig Wega observes that while the adultery 
of the husband is in many cases a purely sensual act, 
which need not spoil the marriage, that of the wife is 
in no case a ^ merely bodily attachment. 4 Stendhal 
remarks that where love is absent, the fidelity of a 
married woman is something contrary to nature, but 
that " with love there, one has no taste for any mate 
but that of the beloved fount ", 5 He also writes: 
" The difference between infidelity in the two sexes is 
so real, that a woman of passion may pardon it, while 
for a man that is impossible ". 6 

The disharmony caused by infidelity might not 

1 Ruth Reed, The Modern Family (New York, 1929), p. 154. See 
also B. Russell, Marriage and Morals (London, 1929), p. 183. 

2 R. von Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis (Stuttgart, 1903), 
p. 14 (English translation [Philadelphia & London, 1892], p. 14 sq'). 

3 Kisch, Die sexuelle Untreue der Frau, i. 4 sq. 

4 Hedwig Wega, loc. cit. p. 67. 

5 De Stendhal (Henry Beyle), On Love (London, 1915), ch. Ivi. 
p. 241. 

6 Ibid. ch. xxxvii. p. 133. 


infrequently be tempered by a more careful considera- 
tion of the case. Though feelings are stronger than 
reason, they may be more or less influenced by it. It 
may then appear absurd to break a previously happy 
marriage because of a single lapse, due to momentary 
over-excitement or intoxication, on the part of the 
husband; and when the wife sins, she may be led astray 
by a skilful seducer, who overcomes her power of 
resistance. Lessing makes Emilia Galotti, who does 
not love the wooing prince but trembles at the thought 
of being entrapped by his art, exclaim: " Force, force, 
who cannot bid defiance to force? What is called 
force is nothing. Seduction is the real force ", 1 Some 
reflection may even reveal that the apparently inno- 
cent party is the true cause of what has happened. In 
many English divorce suits the adultery of the wife 
has been found to be the fault of the husband. 2 "Every 
woman ", says Balzac, " is to her husband just what 
he has made her ", 3 According to Stekel, a sexually 
unsatisfied wife has only to choose between sin and 
neurosis. 4 But the wife, on her part, may also, through 
her frigidity or otherwise, be responsible for the in- 
fidelity of her husband, and practically drive him to 
other women. 5 Conjugal unfaithfulness is of course 
formally a breach of faith, but it is an unreasonable 
claim that the eternal troth which the two lovers once 
swore to each other should be an irrevocable pledge 
in all circumstances; even though the Law, " creeping 
up behind, as it were, at this critical moment, and 
overhearing the two thus pledge themselves, claps its 

1 Lessing, Emilia Galotti, v. 7. 

2 Kisch, Die sexuelle Untreue der Frau y i. 116. 

3 H. de Balzac, Physiologic du manage, Meditation xvii. 

4 W. Stekel, quoted by O. Adler, Die mangelhafte Geschlechts- 
empfindung des Weibes (Berlin, 1911), p. 204. 

5 For " excusable " cases of adultery, see W. Mittermaier, * Ehe- 
bruch ', in M. Marcuse, Handworterbuch der Sexualwissenschaft 
(Bonn, 1923), p. 73 sq. 


book together with a triumphant bang, and exclaims: 
* There now, you're married and done for, for the rest 
of your natural lives ' 'V Ellen Key remarks that to 
talk of " the duty of lifelong fidelity " is much the 
same as to talk of " the duty of lifelong health " ; a man 
can promise to take good care of his life or of his love, 
but he cannot unconditionally undertake to preserve 
them. 2 

Dr. W. J. Robinson writes that we must teach and 
show our women and men " that not every woman can 
necessarily fill out a man's entire life, that not every 
woman can necessarily occupy every nook and corner 
of a man's mind and heart, and that there is nothing 
humiliating to the woman in such an idea (and vice 
versa). . . . We must teach our men that when they 
marry a woman she does not become their chattel, 
their piece of property, which nobody may touch, 
nobody may look at or smile at. ... We must teach our 
men and women that there is essentially nothing shame- 
ful or humiliating in being displaced by a rival. ... It 
does not at all % mean that the change has been made 
because the rival is superior. . . . Inculcating those 
ideas would do away with the feeling of wounded 
vanity which is such an important component in the 
feeling of jealousy. Further we must teach our chil- 
dren from the earliest age that jealousy is ' not nice ', 
that it is a mean feeling, that it is a sign of weakness, 
that it is degrading to the person who entertains it, 
particularly to the person who exhibits it. ... People 
properly brought up will always succeed in controlling 
or suppressing certain non-vital instincts or emotions 
on which society puts its stamp of disapproval, which 
it considers * not nice ' or disgraceful. I am, therefore, 
an optimist in relation to the eventual uprooting of 

1 E. Carpenter, Love's Coming of Age (London, 1923), p. 123 sq. 

2 Ellen Key, Love and Marriage (New York & London, 1911), 
p. 309 sq. 


the greater number of components of the anti-social 
feeling of jealousy. And when woman reaches eco- 
nomic independence, then another component of the 
instinct of jealousy the terror of losing a provider 
and being left in poverty will disappear ". Dr. 
Robinson, however, does not imagine that character- 
ising jealousy the way it deserves to be characterised, 
calling it shameful, savage, primitive feeling, etc., is at 
once going to banish it from the breasts of men and 
women in which it has found an abiding place. 1 
Bertrand Russell is of opinion that men should be freed 
from the duty of sexual conjugal fidelity, but, in ex- 
change, have the duty of controlling jealousy; "it is 
better ", he says, " to control a restrictive and hostile 
emotion such as jealousy, rather than a generous and 
expansive emotion such as love ". He also thinks 
that it " can be controlled if it is recognised as bad, and 
not supposed to be the expression of a just moral 
indignation ", nay, even thinks it may be hoped that 
with the right education from the start such self- 
control will become comparatively easy. It seems to 
him by no means impossible that the jealousy of 
husbands should in the future arise only when wives 
propose to choose some other man as the father of 
their children. 2 

Edward Carpenter distinguishes two kinds of jeal- 
ousy, a natural and an artificial. The first arises from 
the uniqueness of the relationship between two per- 
sons and the endeavour to stamp this uniqueness on the 
whole relationship, sexual and moral, and especially 
on the sexual relationship. This kind of jealousy 
seems in a sense natural and normal, at any rate for a 
period. It is felt with terrible keenness and intensity 
by lovers before the consummation of their passion, 

1 W. J. Robinson, Woman Her Sex and Love Life (New York, 
1923), pp. 386-388, 391. 

2 Russell, op. cit. pp. 188, 114, 115, 249, 239. 


and perhaps for a year or two afterwards, though it may 
be protracted rather indefinitely in the case where the 
alliance, on one side at any rate, is not quite satisfactory. 
The other kind of jealousy rests on the sense of property 
and is the kind that is often felt by the average hus- 
band and wife long after honeymooning days by the 
husband not because of his especial devotion to his 
partner, but because he is furious at the idea of her 
disposing as she likes with what he considers his 
property, and by the wife because she is terrified at the 
thought that her matrimonial clothes-peg, from which 
depend all her worldly prospects, may vanish away or 
become the peg for another woman's clothes. This 
kind of jealousy, which is probably not quite so heart- 
rending as the other but is often passionate enough 
and lasts on indefinitely, is more especially the product 
of immediate social conditions. " In the communism 
and humanism of the future, as the sense of property 
declines, and as Love rises more and more out of mere 
blind confusion with the sex-act, we may fairly hope 
that the artificial jealousy will disappear altogether, and 
that the other form of the passion will subside again 
into a comparatively reasonable human emotion ". l 

Others argue that jealousy is a useless or stupid 
feeling. Havelock Ellis remarks that " the jealous 
person seldom makes himself more lovable by his 
jealousy and frequently much less lovable ". 2 Forel 
writes: " We often hear of justified jealousy; I main- 
tain, on the contrary, that jealousy is never justified, 
and that it is only the brutal stupidity of an atavistic 
heritage, or a pathological symptom. A reasonable 
man who has doubts as to the fidelity of his wife has 
certainly the right to assure himself of their correctness. 
But of what use is it to be jealous? If he finds his 
suspicions false he has, by his manner, unnecessarily 

1 Carpenter, op. cit. p. 196 sqq. 
2 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 566. 


offended his wife and made her unhappy, and destroyed 
conjugal confidence and happiness. If, on the con- 
trary, his suspicions are well founded he has only to 
choose between one of two ways. If it is a case of 
amorous intoxication suggested by another man to his 
wife, who is often perhaps very unhappy about it, she 
may then be restored to her husband and pardoned. 
If, however, love for her husband is entirely extin- 
guished in her, or if she is only a false intriguer without 
character, jealousy is even more absurd, for the game 
is not worth the candle, and immediate divorce is 
necessary 'V 

Jealousy has a deeply rooted foundation in animal 
nature. It has been said that it " seems such a necessary 
psychological accompaniment to biological behaviour, 
amidst competitive struggle, that one is tempted to 
(Consider it genetically among the oldest of the emotions, 
synonymous almost with the will to live ", 2 But I have 
ventured to suggest that it may be instrumental to the 
preservation of the species in another way as well : the 
murderous rage of the male which tojerates no rivals 
may be the result of natural selection if promiscuous 
intercourse is as it often is, perhaps not without reason, 
supposed to be unfavourable to fecundity. 3 The 
general prevalence of male jealousy among uncivilised 
races is proved both by an array of statements directly 
testifying it and by their customs relating to adultery. 4 
There are, no doubt, savages who are said to be little 
addicted to it, and in other cases the absence of jealousy 
has been inferred from the practice of offering one's 
wife to a visitor or of exchanging or prostituting wives. 
But, as I have shown elsewhere, there are special 

1 A. Forel, Die sexuelle Frage (Mlinchen, 1931), p. 144 sq. 

2 A. L. Gesell, ' Jealousy ', in American Journal of Psychology, 
xvii. (Worcester, 1906), p. 447. 

3 The History of Human Marriage, i. 334 sqq. 

4 Ibid. i. 302 sqq. 


reasons for these customs, which by no means exclude 
the existence of jealousy among the peoples who 
practise them. 1 It has been supposed that primitive 
man was devoid of that feeling. But the prevalence of 
male jealousy both among the anthropoid apes and the 
existing races of men constitutes a strong prima facie 
evidence of its prevalence in mankind during earlier 
ages as well. Hartland argues that the sense of owner- 
ship has been the seed-plot of jealousy, and that in 
consequence this feeling operates only feebly in con- 
ditions where the sense of ownership is undeveloped or 
imperfect. 2 This is to my mind a more than doubtful 
proposition. It is true that a savage often regards his 
wife as a kind of property and a man who commits 
adultery with another man's wife as a thief; sometimes 
he is called by that name, and in certain parts of Africa 
he is punished as a thief, having his hands, or one of 
them, cut off. 3 But if jealousy has anything to do with 
ownership, the reason is that it is primarily connected 
with the desire of possession, which is something 

Ownership implies that a certain person or certain 
persons are recognised as having a right to the exclusive 
disposal of a certain thing. It owes its origin to the 
desire of an individual to keep and dispose of what he 
has appropriated or produced, but it is by no means 
identical with mere possession. 4 The male animal 
jealously keeps for himself the female he has appropriated 
and is enraged if his possession of her is interfered 
with, but we cannot say that his jealousy depends on a 
" sense of ownership ". Sexual jealousy, as Dr. Shand 
remarks, springs from sexual love. " But sexual love 
cannot be separated from self-love, with which it 

1 Ibid. i. 226-234, 331 sq. 

2 E. S. Hartland, Primitive Paternity, ii. (London, 1909), p. 102 sq. 

3 The History of Human Marriage, i. 300 sq. 

4 See The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, ii. i, 51 sqq. 


constantly interacts; and it is due to the desire of self- 
love to possess certain things exclusively for self, such 
as women, power, and reputation, that jealousy prin- 
cipally arises. Thus La Rochefoucauld observes: ' II 
y a dans la jalousie plus d 'amour propre que d'amour ' ".* 
The jealousy of a man, particularly a civilised man, 
differs from that of a male animal, apart from any feeling 
of injured rights ownership or any other right. It is 
coloured by the nature of his love. It is accompanied 
with humiliation, because " the loss of possession to 
which jealousy refers, or the failure to obtain it, is of 
such a nature as carries with it a lowering of a man's 
self- valuation ".* There may also be envy of what the 
other one has obtained by depriving him of it. There 
may be fear of another man's offspring being born into 
the family. But there is one characteristic common to 
sexual jealousy in all its forms, namely, that it is an 
angry feeling aroused by the loss, or fear of the loss, of 
the exclusive possession of an individual who is the 
object of one's sexual desire. ( It is impossible to 
suppose that the feeling of anger will* ever disappear 
from the human mind; so also it is impossible to 
imagine that the angry feeling of jealousy will disappear, 
however ugly and useless it may be. How violent it 
sometimes is among ourselves is illustrated by the fact 
that in analysing 188 murders committed by sane 
persons in England, a prison commissioner recently 
found that the highest number, 46, were due to jealousy, 
while the same number resulted from a quarrel. 3 

But even when the infidelity of a husband or a wife 
does not give rise to the angry feeling of jealousy, it 
may cause deep sorrow; and I think it can be demanded 
of a spouse to consider whether he or she has a right to 

1 A. F. Shand, The Foundations of Character (London, 1920), 

p. 258- 

2 Ibid. p. 258 sq. 

5 News Chronicle, February 2, 1935. 



inflict such suffering upon the other party. Helene 
Stocker observes that the refined feeling of love implies 
instinctively an obligation to avoid, as far as possible, 
making the beloved person feel pain. 1 It is true, as 
Bertrand Russell said, that love is a generous emotion. 
But it is not generous to the person who has to suffer for 
its generosity towards another. 

1 Helene Stocker, * Erotik und Altruismus ', in A. Weil, Sexual- 
reform und Sexualwissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1922), p. 99. 



FROM the unhappiness which may be ultimately traced 
to the sexual impulse we shall pass to frictions that are 
liable to arise from the community of life between 
husband and wife. These depend largely upon an 
unfortunate choice of partner. It may be unsuitable 
for various reasons. Sexual compatibility alone is an 
inadequate basis for married life; other requirements 
are that husband and wife shall be able and willing to 
fulfil their respective functions in the domestic circle, as 
also that there shall be companionship and mental 
compatibility between them. As Mr. De Pomerai 
remarks, " mentally incompatible sppuses are little 
more than mere sleeping partners, and, since no 
cultured human being can be permanently bound by 
physical chains alone, it will inevitably happen if the 
couple possess any courage or initiative at all that they 
will sooner or later cease to be even sleeping partners 'V 
A great peril of marriage is ennui from lack of a 
common interest and the resultant estrangement of the 
partners from one another. This generally inflicts 
greater suffering upon the wife than upon the husband; 
for while the latter can take refuge in his main pre- 
occupation his work the woman's nature, more pro- 
foundly emotional, is dependent on personal relation- 
ships. Such a relationship arises particularly between 
people of the same position in life and on the same 

1 R. De Pomerai, Marriage Past Present and Future (London, 
1930), p. 226 sq. 



level of culture. An extreme instance of the fate of 
ignorant and unintelligent wives married to highly 
intellectual men is afforded by the fully developed 
Greek civilisation. The wife lived in almost absolute 
seclusion, in a separate part of the house, together 
with her female slaves, deprived of all the educating 
influence of male society, and having no place at those 
public spectacles which were the chief means of 
culture; and the man recognised in her no other end 
than to minister to his pleasure and become the mother 
of his children. The higher culture was the exclusive 
privilege of the men and the courtesans. The latter 
were the only free women of Athens, and often availed 
themselves of their freedom to acquire a degree of 
knowledge which enabled them to add to their other 
charms an intense intellectual fascination. Gathering 
around them the most brilliant artists, poets, historians, 
and philosophers, they became centres of a literary 
society of matchless splendour. Aspasia, who was as 
famous for her genius as for her beauty, won the 
passionate love of Pericles; Socrates owned his deep 
obligations to the instructions of a courtesan named 
Diotima; the courtesan Leontium was among the most 
ardent disciples of Epicurus. 1 And it was not the 
courtesans alone who drew away the men from the 
company of their wives. The ignorance and dullness 
of the latter also led to pederasty, as it nowadays does 
in China and among Mohammedan peoples. 2 

On the other hand, I have never seen happier 
marriages among my friends than those in which the 
wife takes a keen interest in the intellectual occupa- 
tions of her husband, even assisting him in his work. 
It is in these marriages that I have found the best 

1 W. E. H. Lecky, History of European Morals, ii. (London, 1890), 
P- 293. 

2 E. Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral 
Ideas ) ii. (London, 1917), p. 470 sq. 



confirmation of Balzac's saying: "A happy marriage is 
the result of perfect understanding between two souls 'V 
But even in lower spheres of life the link between 
husband and wife is reinforced especially when it is 
possible for her to stand shoulder to shoulder with him 
in his life-work and to be an adroit and efficient help- 
mate. Moll thinks that this is the reason why we 
find such comparatively happy marriages among small 
tradespeople, where the woman often helps by serving 
in the shop, or among artisans, where she also " lends 
a hand with the job ". 2 According to Kisch, a marriage 
may be harmonious even where there is considerable 
divergence in the intelligence and education of the 
couple, and in support of this he mentions professors 
and head physicians among his acquaintances who have 
married their cook, their servant-girl, a waitress, or a 
barmaid, and nevertheless are quite happy in their 
wedded life. 3 American divorce statistics, however, 
tend to show that marriages between college students 
are much more successful than marriages generally; 4 
and Woodhouse, studying 250 successful families, 
found that nearly three-fifths of the couples had 
shared a common background of school or work. 5 
According to Van de Velde, there can hardly be any 
doubt that, generally speaking, mental equality is a 
presumption of ideal marriage, although the mental 
harmony need not be derived from similar education: 
" the single presumption which absolutely must be 
fulfilled is a mental and temperamental capacity for 
such a rise above the narrow scope of former interests 

1 H. de Balzac, Physiologic du manage, Meditation v. 

2 A. Moll, Handbuch der Sexualwissenschaften (Leipzig, 1912), 
p. 443. 

3 E. H. Kisch, Die sexuelle L'ntreue der Fran, i. (Bonn, 1918), 
p. 190 sq. 4 See supra, p. 41. 

6 C. G. Woodhouse, ' A Study of 250 Successful Families ', in 
Social Forces, viii. (1930), p. 522, quoted by M. F. Nimkoff, The 
Family (Cambridge, Mass., 1934), p. 377. 


to the development of talents hitherto latent ". He 
adds that the prospect of a good marriage is much 
more favourable when the husband is mentally superior 
to the wife than when the reverse is the case, because 
in marriage the woman will be happiest who feels 
herself protected by a stronger man. 1 

It is no doubt a risky experiment to marry into a 
social class which is considerably lower than one's own. 
Even though differences in rank and wealth of the 
consorts may not directly affect the relations between 
the parties concerned, outside influences are often 
brought to bear that tend sooner or later to disturb 
the harmony of marital life. As Loewenfeld observes, 
" the man who during the flood-tide of his love saw 
in the possession of his dear one a sufficient compensa- 
tion for all hostility engendered in his family and all 
the other disadvantages accruing to him on account of 
his choice, may, when marital life has lost the first 
charming novelty, reach a point when he begins to 
regard his choice with very different eyes than he did 
during his engagement and during his honeymoon ". 2 
C. Gasquoine Hartley thinks that one of the most 
prolific causes of so many unhappy marriages at the 
present time in England has been the comparatively 
recent tendency of women to marry out of their class. 3 
Sameness of class is of importance not only on cultural 
grounds: disparity of habits, manners, and tastes is as 
likely to wreck a marriage as intellectual maladjustment. 
Among many peoples marriage outside the same class 
or caste is strictly prohibited by custom or law. 4 

1 Th. H. van de Velde, Fit or Unfit for Marriage (London, 1934), 
p. 281 sq. 

2 L. Loewenfeld, On Conjugal Happiness (London, 1912), p. 
94 sq. 

3 C. Gasquoine Hartley, Women, Children, Love and Marriage 
(London, 1924), p. 165. 

4 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, ii. (London, 
1921), p. 60 sqq. 


To be a source of marital happiness mental com- 
patibility must imply, besides homogeneous interests, 
agreement on vital questions. " Now this is where 
there should be community between man and wife ", 
says Stevenson. " They should be agreed on their 
catchword in ' facts of religion ', or ' facts of science ', 
or ' society, my dear '; for without such an agreement 
all intercourse is a painful strain upon the mind. . . . 
The best of men and the best of women may sometimes 
live together all their lives, and, for want of some 
consent on fundamental questions, hold each other 
lost spirits to the end 'V " Facts of religion " are 
nowadays among ourselves less important than they 
used to be. Difference of faith is no longer a legal bar 
to intermarriage, and mixed marriages have rapidly 
increased in frequency. In Germany the number of 
marriages contracted between Jews and Gentiles was 
about 8000 during the period 1901-1910 (against 
38,000 pure Jewish marriages) and 20,000 during the 
period 1911-1924 (against 52,000 pure Jewish mar- 
riages), 2 although no section of Jewish ^opinion favours 
marriages between parties who are not of the same 
religion. 3 Marriages between Jews and Christians are 
said to be less satisfactory and more often end in 
divorce than others. 4 And Van de Velde speaks of the 
tragedy of marriages between Protestants and Catholics, 
which are very widespread in both Germany and 
Holland, the tragic conflict becoming exceedingly 
painful when the children are grown up and obliged to 
be estranged from one or other of the parents. 5 

1 R. L. Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque and Other Papers (London , 
1925), p. 9 sq. 

2 M. Marcuse, Die Ehe (Berlin & Koln, 1927), p. 362. 

3 I. Abrahams, ' Marriage (Jewish) ', in Hastings, Encyclopedia 
of Religion and Ethics, viii. (Edinburgh, 1915), p. 461. 

4 W. Hanauer, ' Die judisch-christlichen Mischehen ', in All- 
gemeines statistisches Archiv, xvii. (Jena, 1928), p. 531 sq. See also 
Marcuse, op. cit. pp. 361 , 365 sq. 5 Van de Velde, op. cit. p. 290 sq. 


In Dr. Davis' study of educated American women 
in of the definitely unhappy group of married ones 
gave a variety of reasons for their unhappiness, but 
incompatibility of temperament or interest stood at the 
head of the list, being about 40 per cent, of the total. 1 
" You can forgive people who do not follow you through 
a philosophical disquisition ", says Stevenson; " but to 
find your wife laughing when you had tears in your eyes, 
or staring when you were in a fit of laughter, would go 
some way towards a dissolution of the marriage ", 2 
Yet the harmony between temperaments need not be 
perfect. By analysing the temperaments of one hundred 
married couples Kretschmer even arrived at the result 
that dissimilarity of temperament is attractive, and that 
the more extreme and one-sided two persons' tempera- 
ments are, the more strongly do they prefer marriages 
of contrast. Thirteen of the couples were judged by 
several of their acquaintances to be predominantly 
similar with reference to temperaments, 63 to be 
predominantly dissimilar, and 24 to be about equally 
similar and dissimilar. He adds: " Accurate observa- 
tion and psychological analysis of a large number of 
married couples teach us plainly that combinations 
most useful for procreation frequently lead at the same 
time to individually propitious life-partnerships; that, 
for example, the instinctive inclination to the marriage 
of contrast not only advantageously mixes the qualities 
of the offspring, but that this natural supplementing of 
qualities often proves likewise of great advantage to 
both parties to the marriage themselves in the struggle 
for life ". 3 

Kretschmer thus supports the popular saying that 

1 Katharine B. Davis, Factors in the Sex Life of Twenty -two 
Hundred Women (New York, 1929), p. 39. 

2 Stevenson, op. cit. p. n. 

3 E. Kretschmer, ' Physical and Spiritual Harmony ', in H. Key- 
serling, The Book of Marriage (New York [1926]), pp. 313, 317 sqq. 


opposites attract each other, which is accepted by 
several scientists and philosophers, though it is denied 
by others. 1 The charm of disparity is of course obvious 
in the case of the standing differences, physical and 
mental, between the sexes, and there is probably some 
truth in Schopenhauer's assertion that the most manly 
man will seek the most womanly woman, and vice 
versa* In some other cases the preference for contrast 
may be due to the sexually dulling effect of familiarity 
and the charm of novelty. Richard Burton wrote that 
" as a general rule Somali women prefer amourettes 
with strangers, following the well-known Arab proverb, 
' The new-comer filleth the eye ' ". 3 People generally 
feel most attracted by their own racial type, but at the 
same time even great racial differences have proved to 
act as sexual stimulants. An American writer observes 
that " in the South in particular, prior to the Civil War, 
concubinage with the negro woman was a common, if 
not a sanctioned practice"; 4 and the Southerners, on 
their part, averred that among the Northerners lust for 
the African women was a far more prevalent motive 
than their pretended humanity or their liberating zeal. 5 

1 See on this subject the earlier editions of my book, The History 
of Human Marriage (London, 1891, etc.), p. 353 sqq.\ H. Ellis, 
Studies in the Psychology of Sex, ' Sexual Selection in Man ' (Phila- 
delphia, 1905), p. 195 sqq.\ Kisch, op. cit. i. 43 sqq.\ Ellen Key, 
Love and Marriage (New York & London, 1911), p. 160 sqq.\ P. 
Popenoe, Modern Marriage (New York, 1927), p. 38 sqq.\ W. Hagen, 
' Das Problem der Gattenwahl ', in Zeitschnft fur Sexualwissenschaft, 
xiii. (Bonn, 1927), p. 335; R. Mtiller-Freienfels, ' Zur Psychologic 
der erotischen Selection ', ibid. xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 97. 

2 A. Schopenhauer, Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung, ii. 
(Sdmmtliche Werke, iii. [Leipzig, 1916]), p. 626. 

3 R. F. Burton, First Footsteps in East Africa (London, 1856), 
p. 119. 

4 E. R. Mowrer, The Family Its Organization and Disorganization 
(Chicago, 1932), p. 259. 

6 A. W. Calhoun, A Social History of the American Family from 
Colonial Times to the Present, ii. (Cleveland, 1918), p. 363. 


There are women who display an abnormal passion for 
old men. 1 

It is a general opinion, in some circles almost an 
unwritten law, that a man should marry a woman who 
is at least slightly younger than he is. It is therefore 
surprising that among the one hundred married men 
and the one hundred married women who were studied 
by Dr. Hamilton, the highest percentages of satisfied 
spouses were found in the groups in which the husbands 
were from one to three years younger than their wives 
or were of equal age with respect to them, whereas no 
man or woman found satisfaction in any marriage in 
which the wife was as much as seven years older than 
the husband; but, as he himself remarks, his figures 
were too small to be convincing on any score. 2 Van de 
Velde is of opinion that " for a certain period of his life 
it is certainly no misfortune for a young man to be 
married to a somewhat older woman. We see quite 
often that such marriages are very happy. . . . Also at 
the age between twenty-five and thirty, the fact that 
the woman is sgme years older will involve no essential 
deterioration in the marriage. On the other hand, the 
case generally becomes critical when the woman has 
passed the age of forty-five, and begins to grow notice- 
ably old ". He thinks that as a practical rule the 
principle may be laid down that for married couples 
between twenty and forty-five a difference in age of ten 
years is the utmost limit of the normal, and that this 
difference is better reduced to five or seven years for the 
middle years, between twenty-five and thirty-five. 3 Of 
252 individuals examined by Mrs. Jessie Bernard the 
women were most satisfied with their husbands when 

1 Kisch, op. cit. i. 44. Forel, Die sexuelle Frage (Munchen, 

1931), p. 122. 

2 G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage (New York, 1929), 
p. 509 sq. 

3 Van de Velde, op. cit. pp. 114, 107. 


the latter were from zero to five years older than they, 
and their satisfaction tended to diminish at about an 
equal rate when this difference increased, regardless of 
whether it was they or their husbands who were the 
older. The men tended to be most satisfied with their 
wives when they were from zero to ten years older than 
their wives, but their dissatisfaction with their wives 
tended to increase more rapidly when their wives were 
older than they than when they were older than their 
wives. 1 According to Judge Bartlett, considerable 
disparity of age is one of the commonest bases of 
divorce, because " modern standards of living put such 
a premium upon the husband's earning power that few 
girls can hope to marry a husband near their own age 
without facing a grievous sacrifice ". 2 

I have already said some words of the importance 
of the economic factor at the conclusion of a marriage. 
Dr. Hamilton was once told by an elderly bachelor, a 
wise man whose impressions were worth listening to, 
that the matrimonial barque is usually wrecked on the 
rock of finance. He thinks that the. old gentleman 
overstated the importance of marital economics as a 
source of discontent; but he found himself that while 
in his group 54 per cent, of the women whose husbands 
had an annual income exceeding 5000 dollars had 
relatively high satisfaction with the marriage as a 
whole, only 36 per cent, of those whose husbands had 
a smaller income enjoyed such satisfaction. The 
corresponding figures for the men of his study, how- 
ever, suggest that their marital satisfaction was much 
less dependent on size of income than was that of the 
women. 3 The answer which was given to his ques- 

1 Jessie Bernard, ' Factors in the Distribution of Success in 
Marriage ', in American Journal of Sociology, xl. (Chicago, 1934), 
p. 58. 

2 G. A. Bartlett, Men, Women and Conflict (New York, 1931), 
p. 211. 3 Hamilton, of. cit. pp. 84, 97 sq. 


tion, " If your parents did not get along well together, 
what was the chief source of friction between them? " 
also throws some light upon modern American mar- 
riages: by far the most frequent answer was that the 
father's economic inadequacy was the chief cause. 1 
While in the lower strata of the population the economic 
conditions may constitute a serious obstacle to conjugal 
happiness, the desire to increase the property may 
exert an unfavourable influence among the higher 
classes. Judge Bartlett writes: " Modern couples are 
money-conscious, whether rich or poor. Not one in 
ten divorce cases entirely omits the money problem. . . . 
Too much money is just as bad as too little money. 
Women are probably more sensitive about domestic 
finances than men are ". 2 Another American writer 
remarks that the economic interests which once tended 
to draw together the members of a particular family 
group are now frequently the cause of emotional 
separation, suspicion, jealousy, and open antagonism. 3 
The financial situation of the family may be im- 
proved by income earned by the wife outside the 
home. Whether this is conducive to domestic happi- 
ness or not, depends on various circumstances. It 
may be extremely bad both for the wife as mother and 
for the child. Reid, the medical officer of health for 
Staffordshire, where there are two large centres of 
artisan population with identical health conditions, 
has shown that in the northern centre, where a very 
large number of women are engaged in factories, still- 
births are three times as frequent as in the southern 
centre, where there are practically no trade employ- 
ments for women; and the frequency of abnormalities 
is also in the same ratio. 4 So disastrous consequences 
might presumably be averted by proper legislative 

1 Ibid. p. 239. 2 Bartlett, op. cit. pp. 201, 220. 

3 E. R. Groves, The Marriage Crisis (London, etc., 1928), p. 49. 

4 Reid, quoted by Ellis, op. cit. vi, 6. 


measures. In Soviet Russia, both before and after 
birth the mother (whether married or not) is given 
time away from work, ranging from six to eight weeks, 
with pay and with medical attention; and in addition 
to her full pay she receives an extra stipend for food. 
After she returns to work she is permitted a half-hour 
in every three and a half hours to feed and care for 
her child. 1 But there can be no doubt that in normal 
cases the mother's employment is antagonistic to the 
interests of the child; and it may be so even when the 
child grows older. It tends to weaken the ties between 
the members of the family; and the home may be badly 

The relation between husband and wife may be 
disturbed for other reasons as well. The idea that a 
man shall support his wife may be so ingrained in the 
husband's mind that he feels himself degraded by her 
employment, and at the same time he may fear the loss 
of caste in the eyes of other men. That idea, says 
Dr. Goodsell, " may be reinforced by a feeling of 
active dislike of his wife's financial independence, and 
by carking jealousy of her success if it be too pro- 
nounced ". 2 Dr. Hamilton found that among his 
group of married men and women there was a smaller 
percentage of satisfied spouses in the families in which 
the wife had an extra-domestic vocation than in those 
in which she had none. 3 In her study of several 
hundred situations Lorine Pruette noticed that hus- 
bands of little education tended to be least sympathetic 
towards careers for their wives, whereas those having 
more education were more liberal in their attitude. 4 

1 V. F. Calverton, The Bankruptcy of Marriage (London, 1931), 

P- 233- 

2 W, Goodsell, A History of Marriage and the Family (New York, 

1934), p. 520. Cf. Mowrer, op. cit. p. 269. 

3 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 517. 

4 Lorine Pruette, quoted by NimkofF, op. cit. p. 410 sq. 


The wife's experiences in the workaday world should 
tend to make her a more interesting companion. To 
the wife herself her employment outside the family 
may offer obvious advantages. It may give her an 
opportunity to exercise her talents in a more stimulating 
field than domestic occupations, it renders her more 
independent of her husband, it makes the dissolution 
of an unsuccessful marriage easier for her. Dr. Olga 
Knopf goes so far as to say that " for a married woman 
to have an occupation, paid or unpaid, outside of the 
home is one of the best ways, possibly the best way, to 
guarantee happiness in marriage. For an unmarried 
woman it is a vital necessity ". l It is alleged in 
Germany that the way to marriage is usually over 
an occupation, except among particularly well-to-do 
people; in Berlin three - fourths of the women who 
married in 1925 had a vocation. 2 In Stockholm, ac- 
cording to preliminary information received in con- 
nection with the census taken in 1930, about 27 per cent, 
of the married women had some occupation which was 
a source of income. " In the new family ", say Alva 
and G. Myrdal, " in the same manner as in the old 
patriarchal one, the wife will stand beside her husband 
as his companion also in productive activity ". 3 

In some cases the evils resulting from an unfortunate 
choice of partner may be avoided by a more careful 
selection, but in other cases the incompatibility can only 
be expected to become apparent afterwards. Marriage 
is always something of an adventure. Where two 
persons are brought into so close contact with, and into 
such constant dependence on, each other it would be 

1 Olga Knopf, The Art of Being a Woman (London, 1932), p. 1 12, 

2 Dr. Guradze, * Heiraten Frauen oder Madchen in Berlin ohne 
Beruf? ' in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft, xiv. (Berlin & Koln, 
1927), p. 23 sq.\ A. Konig, * Mutterschaft und Erwerbstatigkeit ', 
ibid. xiv. 312 sq. 

3 Alva and G. Myrdal, Kris ibefolkningsfrdgan (Stockholm, 1934), 

PP- 3*3 3 J 9- 


little short of a miracle if their wills always acted in 
complete unison. In modern civilisation, where life is 
becoming richer in interests and individual differences 
are getting more accentuated, the causes of disagreement 
are multiplied and the frictions are apt to become more 
serious and, consequently, more likely to end in a 
rupture of the marriage tie. The idea that it is a right, 
or even a duty, to assert one's own individuality is 
characteristic of our age. As Lord Bryce observes, 
" the desire of each person to do what he or she pleases, 
to gratify his or her tastes, likings, caprices, to lead a life 
which shall be uncontrolled by another's will this 
grows stronger. So, too, whatever stimulates the 
susceptibility and sensitiveness of the nervous system 
tends to make tempers more irritable, and to produce 
causes of friction between those who are in constant 
contact. ... It is temper rather than unlawful passion 
that may prove in future the most dangerous enemy to 
the stability of the marriage relation 'V A " better 
temper " was the most prominent change of mental 
qualities that the men of the Hamilton group wished in 
their wives, and the women who had the same wish 
with regard to their husbands were only slightly less 
numerous than those who complained of the latter being 
too " selfish " or not enough " talkative ". 2 

Women's emancipation has undoubtedly a share in 
bringing about matrimonial unhappiness among the 
cultivated classes of our time. 3 In former days when, 
in accordance with the Christian doctrine, the husband 
was the head of the wife, she had to adapt herself to 
him; and community of life and collaboration are 

1 Lord Bryce, Studies in History and Jurisprudence, ii. (Oxford, 
1901), p. 463. . .. _ ., _ 

2 Hamilton, op. at. p. 76. 

3 Cf. R. Pyke, * Husbands and Wives ', in The Cosmopolitan, 
xxxii. (New York, 1902), p. 613 sqq.\ C. Jorgensen, Erotikens etik 
(Kobenhavn, 1926), pp. 10, n, 76 sqq.\ B. Russell, Marriage and 
Morals (London, 1929), p. 112. 


generally easier between a superior and a subordinate 
than between two equals. There is, fortunately, no 
reason whatever to suppose that women in the future 
will fall back into their former state of subjection their 
independence will presumably become still more 
complete than it is at present but this does not imply 
that married life will become more difficult. On the 
contrary, I think it will rather smooth down when the 
memory of wrongs suffered in the past has faded, and 
there is no reason, and consequently no inclination, to 
emphasise rights already gained. I even believe that 
certain feminine traits which the movement of emanci- 
pation tended somewhat to obscure will again demand 
their due in full. Wives' subjection to their husbands 
was, of course, in the first place the result of the men's 
instinctive desire to exert power and of the natural 
inferiority of women in such qualities as are essential for 
personal independence. Generally speaking, the men 
are their superiors in strength and courage, and have 
therefore been not only the protectors of their wives, 
but also their masters. But at the same time there are 
in the sexual instinct elements which are apt to lead to 
domination on the part of the man and to submission 
on the part of the woman. 

In courtship, animal and human alike, the male 
plays the more active, the female the more passive part. 
During the season of love the males even of the most 
timid animal species engage in desperate combats with 
each other for the possession of the female, and there 
can be no doubt that our primeval human ancestors had 
in the same way to fight for their wives; even now this 
kind of courtship is far from being unknown among 
savages. 1 Moreover, the male pursues and tries to 
capture the female, and she^ after some resistance , 
finally surrenders herself^to him. The sexual impulse 
ot the male" is . tHus~cbnnected with a desire to win the 
1 The History of Human Marriage, i. 462 sqq. 


female, and the sexual impulse of the female with a 
desire to be pursued and won by the male. In the 
female sex there is consequently an instinctive apprecia- 
tion of manly strength and courage; this is found in 
most women, and they may enjoy the display of manly 
force even when it turns against themselves. It is said 
that among the Slavs of the lower class the wives feel 
hurt if they are not beaten by their husbands; that the 
peasant women in some parts of Hungary do not think 
they are loved by their husbands until they have re- 
ceived the first box on the ear; that among the Italian 
Camorrists a wife who is not beaten by her husband 
regards him as a fool. Havelock Ellis believes that the 
majority of women would probably be prepared to 
echo the remark made by a woman in front of Rubens' 
* Rape of the Sabines ', " I think the Sabine women 
enjoyed being carried off like that ". The same 
judicious student of the psychology of sex observes: 
" While in men it is possible to trace a tendency to 
inflict pain, or the simulacrum of pain, on the women 
they love, it is still easier to trace in women a delight in 
experiencing physical pain when inflicted by a lover, 
and an eagerness to accept subjection to his will. Such 
a tendency is certainly normal. To abandon herself to 
her lover, to be able to rely on his physical strength and 
mental resourcefulness, to be swept out of herself and 
beyond the control of her own will, to drift idly in 
delicious submission to another and stronger will 
this is one of the commonest aspirations in a young 
woman's intimate love-dreams ' .* Van de Velde 
quotes Michelet's statement that " a woman's torment is 
not the man's tyranny but his indifference ". 2 

Although hardly any mutual interest could unite a 

1 Ellis, op. cit. y ' Analysis of the Sexual Impulse, etc.' (1903), 
pp. 66, 67, 74 sq. Cf. W. Stekel, Die Geschlechtskdlte der Frau 
(Berlin & Wien, 1027), p. 473. 

2 Th. H. van de Velde, Ideal Marriage ( London , 1928), p. 49. 


married couple more closely than the love and care for 
their children, there are very many cases in which 
children are no unmixed blessing in conjugal life. They 
are not always desired. We are told by experienced 
observers that numbers of marriages are wrecked by 
the fear of, or by the complications arising from, 
unwanted pregnancy. The husband fears it either 
because he does not care for children or because he 
cannot afford them; the wife fears the pain in addition 
to the fears complementary to those of the husband. 
There are also married people who are averse to having 
children for fear lest the presence of a child should 
interfere with their love for each other. 1 Dr. Hamil- 
ton's question whether there was or had ever been any 
friction between the spouses in the matter of having 
children, was answered in the affirmative by 12 per cent, 
of the men and 15 per cent, of the women belonging to 
his group; while 12 per cent, of the latter declared that 
pregnancy exercised a weakening influence upon their 
friendly feelings towards their husbands. 2 To have 
many children taxes the strength of the wife, and is 
apt to aggravate the financial situation of the family. 
Instead of being a strong bond between the parents, the 
existence of children may cause tension or discord 
between them: there may be disagreement as to their 
management, or the woman may neglect the man or 
the man the woman on account of the children claiming 
the whole interest. Finally, children's relations with 
their parents, or their behaviour in other respects, may 
be very disturbing factors in the life of the family. 

However real and frequent these difficulties are, 
I nevertheless think that some of them have been 
exaggerated by certain writers. I cannot endorse Mr. 
Ludovici's opinion that " children, far from cementing 
the affection existing between their parents, are rather 

1 W. Stekel, op. cit. p. 493. 2 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 124 sq. 


inclined to supply its most potent and infallible cor- 
rosive 'V Dr. Bjerre says that there are few things 
that separate man and woman so much as does the 
child, owing to disagreements as to the management of 
it. 2 This statement, which evidently refers to family 
life in Sweden, is certainly not confirmed by my own 
experience among the Swedes of Finland ; and in the 
answers given to Dr. Hamilton's various questions as 
to the chief cause of marital trouble in his group of 
American men and women, disagreement with regard to 
the management of the children plays a negligible part, 
varying between 0-5 and 1-5 per cent, of the total 
number of answers. 3 Another American author, Mr. 
Calverton, writes: " The old family has decayed. The 
old home has been replaced by the movie, the club, the 
dance-hall. Home has become a place to dine and die. 
The sentimental hymn of Payne ' There's no place 
like Home ' has been converted into * There's no 
place like home thank God' ", 4 If this statement is 
meant to imply a general rupture of family ties, it is 
contradicted by the large percentage amounting to 
more than 50 per cent. of affirmative answers given to 
Dr. Hamilton's questions, " Were you and your father 
always on friendly terms while you lived at home? Are 
you still on such terms? " and to the corresponding 
questions relating to the mother. 5 Another American 
writer, Dr. Collins, while admitting that children often 
cause their parents much sorrow, nevertheless affirms 
that " more than virtue ever was, parenthood is its own 
reward ". 6 From papers written by about 1700 male 

1 A. M. Ludqyici, Woman: A Vindication (London, 1923)^. 181. 

2 P. Bjerre, Aktenskapets omdaning (Stockholm, 1928), p. 161 sq. 

3 Hamilton, op. cit. pp. 61, 66, 72, 74. 

4 V. F. Calverton, The Bankruptcy of Marriage (London, 1931), 

P- 23- 

6 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 230 sq. 

6 J. Collins, The Doctor Looks at Love and Life (London, 1926), 
P- 57 sq. 


and 400 female pupils at professional schools in Berlin 
on the subject, " What does my family mean to me ?" 
the conclusion was drawn that, in spite of frequent 
tensions and even ruptures of family ties, the prole- 
tarian youth in Germany are, in general, attached to 
their families. 1 

According to Freud the son is hostile to his father, 
even wishing his death, because the father is a rival of 
his son in the latter's incestuous love of his mother; 
and the daughter is similarly hostile to her mother 
because the mother is a rival of her daughter in the 
latter's incestuous love of her father. These feelings 
are supposed to be rooted deep in the unconscious part 
of the mind, but also to appear in the conscious part and 
be discernible by ordinary observation. We all know 
that frictions do occur between a son and his father and 
between a daughter and her mother; but, as I have 
pointed out in another book, there is no reason whatever 
to attribute them to sexual jealousy. 2 Dr. Hamilton 
asked the men of his group if they had any memories of 
childish jealousy of their mother and of hostility toward 
their father-rival, and the women if they had any 
memories of childish jealousy of their father and of 
hostility toward their mother-rival. Seventy-eight per 
cent, of the men and 68 per cent, of the women answered 
that they had no such jealousy; while 7 per cent, of the 
men mentioned jealousy directed against the father, the 
mother being the beloved object, and 6 per cent, of the 
women mentioned jealousy directed against the mother, 
the father being the beloved object. 3 But there is no 
indication that, in these cases, the jealousy was con- 
nected with infantile sexuality. A boy may, in his love 

1 G. Krolzig, * Der Jugendliche in der Grossstadtfamilie ', re- 
viewed in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xviii. 
(Berlin & Koln, 1931), p. 339 sq. 

2 ' The Oedipus Complex ', passim, in Three Essays on Sex and 
Marriage (London, 1934). 3 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 484 sq. 



for his mother, be jealous of his father, jealous of one 
of his brothers or sisters, jealous even of a dog to which 
his mother pays attention; and a girl may similarly, in 
her love for her father, feel jealousy associated with 
every possible variety of sympathetic feeling. It is also 
interesting to note that among those in the group who 
stated that they were always on friendly terms with 
their father the percentage of men were higher than the 
percentage of women. 1 

Conflicts between parents and children are more 
frequent in modern civilisation than they used to be. 
Parental, or paternal, authority and filial submission 
reached its height among peoples of archaic civilisation, 2 
and the old notions of parental rights and filial duties 
have left traces that still survive, especially in Latin 
countries. Many parents concern themselves about 
the doings of their children in a way that displeases the 
latter, but instead of yielding to their will, as they would 
have done in former days, the children revolt against 
the interference. Just as the emancipation of woman 
has tended to increase the frictions between husband 
and wife, so has the emancipation of the child tended to 
increase the frictions between parents and children. 
But in this case, also, there is reason to believe that when 
one party will no longer try to assert his old rights, nor 
be suspected of trying to do so, the spirit of opposition 
will cool down in the other party. The duty of obedience 
will be replaced by a tendency to give a more willing ear 
to a good advice, and the duty of reverence by natural 
regard and affection. I have noticed that a distinct 
change in this direction has taken place, in the course of 
my lifetime, in my own surroundings. 

Of all troubles arising from the existence of children 
those which are due to unwanted births are most easily 
remedied, and have already been so to a very large 

1 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 230. 
2 The History of Human Marriage, i. 326 sqq. 


extent. The knowledge of birth control makes it 
practically possible for married couples to have no 
more children than they want. At present there is no 
absolutely reliable method of contraception, but there 
are methods that approach perfection, and there will 
presumably be such as reach it. Many of the cases of 
failure, however, are to be ascribed not to the contra- 
ceptives themselves but to the wrong use of them, due 
either to carelessness or to ignorance or half-knowledge, 
which might be removed by proper instruction. The 
limitation of the number of children in a family not 
only prevents debility in the mother resulting from too 
frequent child-bearing and may ward off economic 
difficulties: it also enables the mother to bestow more 
care on the children, tends to improve their physique, 
and gives them a better chance of life. From material 
collected in Germany it appears that the more children 
are born in a family, the smaller is the percentage of 
those who will remain alive; 1 Hamburger found that 
the percentage of deaths was 23 in families with one 
child, 51 in families with eight children, and 69 when 
the number of children exceeded fifteen. 2 It should 
also be noticed that the use of contraceptives is the 
best preventive against abortion; it is particularly for 
this reason that, in Soviet Russia, instruction in 
contraception may be obtained freely by anyone 
seeking it. 3 

At the same time birth control, if carried to excess, 
may be bad for the family. It is a common opinion 
that it is unfortunate for a child to be the only one. 
Olga Knopf writes: " Often he will never find his way 

1 P. W. Siegel, Gewollte und ungewollte Schwankungen der weib- 
lichen Fruchtbarkeit (Berlin, 1917), p. 131 sqq. 

2 Hamburger, quoted by G. Maranon, Tres ensayos sobre la vida 
sexual (Madrid, 1927), p. 102. See also ibid. p. 101. 

3 Fannie W. Halle, Die Frau in Sowjetrussland (Berlin, etc., 
[1932]), p. 202; Margaret Sanger, * Birth Control in Soviet Russia ', 
in Birth Control Review, June 1935 (New York), p. 3. 


to meet the external world independently. He expects 
that others will be indulgent to him as his parents 
were. . . . Very probably, he has not had as much ex- 
perience as children of larger families in meeting others 
whom he can consider as equals. He did not learn to 
work with others and to play with them; he did not 
learn the give-and-take of social life. In married life 
the only child will expect the same interest, the same 
attention from his partner that he received from his 
parents; and he will expect it to be given without a 
return. In consequence, the marriages of only children 
are often a failure 'V Many family social workers 
recommend that it is wiser to adopt a second child if 
parents can have but one child of their own. 2 Dr. 
Hamilton's findings, again, suggest that men who have 
sisters and women who have brothers are more likely 
to be satisfied with their spouses than those who have 
none. 3 The opinion that it is a disadvantage to be an 
only child, however, is not universally shared: 4 such a 
child has, for instance, been said to excel in intelligence. 
But Busemann's investigations in a school at Greifs- 
wald for middle-class children gave the result that the 
least teachable pupils were those who had no brothers 
or sisters and those who had a large number of them, 
while the best pupils were those who had two or 
three. 5 

Other arguments have been adduced against birth 
control in all circumstances. I have already spoken 
of the condemnation of it on religious grounds. A 

1 Knopf, op. cit. p. 52. Cf. R. C. and F. W. Binkley, What is 
Right with Marriage? (New York & London, 1929), p. 179. 

2 M. F. Nimkoff, op. cit. p. 347. 

3 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 534. 

4 See J. K. Folsom, The Family (New York & London, 1934), 
p. 509 sq. 

6 M. Marcuse, ' Eugenische Tagung zu Berlin, 26. -28. Oktober 
1928 ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. 
(Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 416. 


moral argument is that it is apt to promote sexual 
licence outside of marriage by removing the danger of 
conception. It is further argued that it lowers the 
quality of the population by being practised more 
extensively by the upper classes, who generally carry 
better hereditary factors, than by the lower ones. The 
best remedy for this would of course be to disseminate 
knowledge concerning contraceptives among the latter; 
but this would clash with another principle, to which 
much weight is attached, namely, that the population 
must not be lowered in quantity. Fear of this has led 
to prohibitory laws in various countries. But neither 
religion nor law has been able to prevent birth con- 
trol from being practised on an enormous scale, of 
which the great drop in the birth-rate bears significant 
evidence. It is obvious that those who condemn it 
are defending a lost cause. Nowadays it is practised 
among all classes; * but we may hope that there will be a 
time when it is least prevalent in the best parts of the 
population. Professor Carr-Saunders, in his Galton 
lecture, laid it down as a task for eugenists to urge and 
encourage those sections of the nation (irrespectively 
of income) that are physically and mentally best en- 
dowed to regard children as voluntary contributions to 
the State which they ought to make. 

Another eugenic measure has been recommended, 
which might save marriage from much harm and at 
the same time benefit the State, namely, the demand 
of health certificates before marriage, that should be 
a necessary legitimation of it in the eyes of the civil 
and religious authorities. There are different opinions 
among eugenists on the question whether the time is 
come for embodying such a demand in legal codes. 

1 F. Burgdorfer, quoted in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und 
Sexualpolttik, xvi. (Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 67; H. Sellheim, * Was 
muss der Arzt von der Regulierung der Fortpflanzung wissen? ' 
ibid, xviii. (1931), p. 349. 


Sexologists like Moll, 1 Hirschfeld, 2 Muckermann, 3 and 
Havelock Ellis, 4 maintain that we do not yet know 
enough about the principles of heredity and the trans- 
missibility of pathological states to enable us to formu- 
late sound legislative proposals on this basis. Ellis 
even doubts that there should ever be any legal com- 
pulsion in the matter. He argues that " an explicit 
prohibition to procreate within marriage is an implicit 
permission to procreate outside marriage ", and that 
the undesirable procreation, instead of being carried 
out under the least dangerous conditions, is then 
carried out under the most dangerous conditions. 5 
" Force is helpless here ", he says; "it is education 
that is needed, not merely instruction, but the educa- 
tion of the conscience and will, and the training of the 
emotions ". 6 I fear, however, that it is rather sanguine 
to credit the mass of people even if the necessary 
knowledge could be instilled into them with the 
necessary caution and self-control. Dr. Ellis points 
out that a man may be passionately in love with a 
woman of lower class than himself but seldom marries 
her, and thinks that " it needs but a clear general 
perception of all that is involved in heredity and health 
to make eugenic considerations equally influential ". 7 
But in the former case there are obvious selfish reasons 
to refrain from marriage, whereas the perception of 
possible diseugenic consequences may easily fail to 
exercise any influence at all. 

1 A. Moll, * Der " reaktionare " Kongress fiir Sexualforschung ', 
ibid. xiii. (Bonn, 1927), p. 328. 

2 Hertha Riese, ' Der Internationale Kongress in Kopenhagen der 
Weltliga fiir Sexualreform ', ibid. xv. 339. 

3 Marcuse, ibid. xv. 419. 

4 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 621. 

5 Ibid. vi. 626, 622. A similar argument has been adduced by 
M. Fraenkel, * Kiinstliche Sterilisierung ', in A. Weil, Sexualreform 
und Sexualwissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1922), p. 229. 

6 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 624. 7 Ibid. vi. 629. 


Eugenic instruction and medical examination and 
advice are, of course, exceedingly desirable prelim- 
inaries to marriage. In various countries there are 
nowadays special consultation bureaus intended to give 
such advice, and they seem to do useful work; 1 though 
Moll may be right in saying that the family physician is 
the best counsellor on account of his intimate know- 
ledge of the attendant circumstances of the case. 2 

1 See E. Zacharias, Die Gesundheit der Familie und des Volkes y das 
Ziel der drtzlichen Eheberatung (Berlin, 1928); F. K. Scheumann, 
Eheberatung, Einrichtung, Betrieb und Bedeutung fur biologische 
Erwachsenenberatung (Berlin, 1928); idem, ' Smngemasse Ausgestal- 
tung von Fortpflanzunghygiene und Eheberatung ', in Zeitschrift 
fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik^ xvii. (Berlin & Koln, 1930), 
p. 23 sqq.\ Sellheim, ibid, xviii. 359. 

2 Moll, ibid. xiii. 328. 



NOTHING could be more conducive to harmonious 
relations between husband and wife than intimate pre- 
marital experience of each other, with reference to 
sexual compatibility, mental compatibility and other 
factors connected with the community of married life, 
and procreation. The importance of such experience 
has been recognised from very ancient times. 

Among many savage peoples there is a regular 
marriage upon trial before the union becomes definite, 
the bridegroom either taking the girl to his own house 
or going himself to stay with her parents for a certain 
length of time. 1 The latter happens where a wife is 
obtained by services rendered to her father. The 
practice of serving for a wife is no doubt in a large 
measure due to the unwillingness of the father to give 
his daughter in marriage for nothing, but it also has 
another meaning: the period of service may be in- 
tended to test the young man's ability to work and to 
show whether he is an acceptable husband and son-in- 
law. 2 " His endurance, patience, and meekness, his 
adroitness as a hunter, and his zeal and frugality as 
a herdsman, are tested. The bride's father gives 
his assent to the marriage only after the bridegroom 

1 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, i. (London, 
1921), p. 135. 

2 Ibid. ii. 373 sq. 



has stood the probation well ".* During his term of 
service he may or may not have access to the girl. 2 As 
I have pointed out before, among savages pre-nuptial 
relations frequently have the character of a trial by 
which the lover ascertains that the woman will gratify 
his desire for offspring, and in such a case marriage 
is not concluded before the birth of a child or until 
there are signs of pregnancy. 3 

Trial marriage has been and is still practised on 
a large scale in Europe. In Scotland, prior to the 
Reformation, it existed as a genuine custom called 
" hand-fasting ". At the public fairs men selected 
female companions with whom to cohabit for a year. 
At the expiry of this period both parties were accounted 
free; they might either unite in marriage or live singly. 4 
A similar custom existed in Ireland, in a very rude 
form; 5 and the Welsh, according to Giraldus Cam- 
brensis, did not marry until they had tried, by previ- 
ous cohabitation, the disposition and particularly the 
fecundity of the person to whom they were engaged. 6 
At the present day trial marriage is a widespread 
custom among the rural population of Teutonic 
countries; German peasants are heard to say that no 
one wishes " to buy a pig in a poke ", that " one does 
not buy even a penny pipe without trying it ". 7 In 

1 W. Jochelson, Koryak (Leiden & New York, 1908), p. 740. 

2 The History of Human Marriage, ii. 363. 3 Supra, p. 21. 

4 C. Rogers, Scotland, Social and Domestic (London, 1869), 
p. 109. See also J. G. Dalyell, The Darker Superstitions of Scotland 
(Edinburgh, 1834), p. 283. 

5 G. L. Gomme, ' Exogamy and Polyandry ', in Archceological 
Review, i. (London, 1888), p. 391. 

6 Giraldus de Barri, The Itinerary of Archbishop Baldwin through 
Wales, A.D. MCLXXXVIII., ii. (London, 1806), p. 346. 

7 W. Rudeck, Geschichte der qffentlichen Sittlichkeit in Deutschland 
(Jena, 1897), pp. 146, 403 sqq.\ E. H. Kisch, Die sexuelle Untreue der 
Frau (Bonn, 1918), i. 157 sq., ii. 122; H. Ellis, Studies in the Psycho* 
logy of Sex, vi. (Philadelphia, 1923), p. 382; M. Marcuse, Hand- 
worlerbuch der Sexualwissenschaft (Bonn, 1923), p. 278 sq, 


various parts of Germany 40 or 50, nay in certain 
districts as many as 90, per cent, of all legitimate first- 
born children are conceived before marriage. 1 The 
custom of free unions, usually rendered legal before or 
after the birth of children, seems to be fairly common 
in many, or perhaps all, rural parts of England; and the 
union, if found satisfactory, is made legal even when 
there is no prospect of children. In some counties it is 
said to be almost a universal practice for the women to 
have sexual relationships before legal marriage; some- 
times the woman marries the first man whom she tries, 
and sometimes she tries several before the man who 
suits her. 2 Clara Collet says that among the poorer 
half of East London, " in a large number of cases, the 
legal ceremony only takes place, if it takes place at all, 
in time to legitimise the offspring of the union ". 3 

Unions having the character of trial marriages are 
widely spread also where they are not actually sanc- 
tioned by custom, though looked upon with toleration 
or winked at; and they are spreading more and more 
among the upper classes. According to Judge Bart- 
lett, it is in the United States a well-known and ad- 
mitted fact that intercourse between engaged couples 
is definitely on the increase. 4 Of the one hundred 
married men and one hundred married women studied 
by Dr. Hamilton, who had attained a relatively high 
degree of culture, 33 men and 31 women acknowledged 
that they had indulged in the sex act with their spouse 

1 R. Michels, Sittlichkeit in Ziffern? (Miinchen & Leipzig, 1928), 
p. 30 sq.\ A. Konig, ' Ungarische Regierungsmassnahmen gegen die 
Unsittlichkeit ', in Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft, xvi. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1927), p. 31; M. Marcuse, Unehcliche Mutter (Berlin, [1907]), 

P- 34- 

2 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 380. 

3 Clara E. Collet, Educated Working Women (London, 1902), 


4 G. A. Bartlett, Men, Women and Conflict (New York & London, 
1931), p. 160. 


before marriage. 1 Professor Fetscher believes that in 
Germany sexual intercourse is extremely frequent 
among betrothed couples in all strata of society, and 
that it very often is practised without parental dis- 
approval. He thinks the practice should be recognised 
by custom and law, if some stipulations are made in 
favour of the female partner. 2 

A similar proposal is made by Dr. Bjerre, who thinks 
that the present betrothal should be transformed into a 
special institution, having the same legal validity as 
marriage, although neither the conclusion nor the dis- 
solution of it need be registered by the authorities. 3 
So, too, the Rev. H. Lewis maintains that " a love affair 
should be recognised as a respectable, lawful union, 
which may be dissolved at any time. This should last 
at least two years before being legalised, and during 
these two years the couple should not have children 
birth-control being available ". 4 Dr. Parsons writes: 
" Truly monogamous relations seem to be those most 
conducive to emotional or intellectual development and 
to health, so that, quite apart from the question of 
prostitution, promiscuity is not desirable or even 
tolerable. It would therefore seem well, from this 
point of view, to encourage early trial marriage, the 
relation to be entered into with a view to permanency, 
but with the privilege of breaking it if proved un- 
successful and in the absence of offspring without 
suffering any great degree of public condemnation ". 5 

1 G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage (New York, 1929), 
p. 373. 

2 R. Fetscher, ' Aus der Praxis der Eheberatung ', in Zeitschrift 
fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xvi. (Berlin & Koln, 1929), 
p. 35. 

3 P. Bjerre, Aktenskapets omdaning (Stockholm, 1928), p. 177 sqq. 

4 H. Lewis, at the Protestant Episcopal Church Congress, San 
Francisco, June 1927, quoted by R. De Pomerai, Marriage Past 
Present and Future (London, 1930), p. 328. 

5 E. C. Parsons, The Family (New York & London, 1906), p. 349. 


Professor Von Wiese sees no possibility of securing 
a really harmonious monogamous sex organisation 
without a time of trial, since at present everything is 
left to chance. 1 According to Dr. Havelock Ellis, trial 
marriages are demanded by prudence, as a precaution 
desirable both by uncertainty as to either the harmony 
or the fruitfulness of union until actual experiment has 
been made, and by the practical impossibility of other- 
wise rectifying any mistake in consequence of the 
antiquated rigidity of most European divorce laws; 
11 and ", he adds, " as foresight increases with the 
development of civilisation, and constantly grows 
among us, we may expect that there will be a parallel 
development in the frequency of trial marriage and in 
the social attitude towards such unions ". 2 Dr. Bjerre 
heard a Swedish mother say that she would never 
allow her daughter to marry a man unless they had 
been living together for some time previously. He 
believes himself that when a man and a woman have 
been doing so, they will as a rule know whether they 
should marry or not; hence he regards divorce as an 
" antiquated conception ". 3 But the unconventional 
domestic arrangement is not quite equivalent to 
marriage. According to Lorine Pruette, a considerable 
body of experience is accumulating to suggest that 
adjustment outside matrimony is no necessary guar- 
antee of adjustment within the social, traditional 
institution of marriage, and that the happiness of two 
persons as lovers may work against, as well as for, their 
happiness as married partners. 4 Montaigne says that 
" few men have made a wife of a mistress, who have 

1 L. von Wiese, Strindberg: Em Beitrag zur Soziologie der 
Geschlechter (Miinchen & Leipzig, 1918), p. 126 sq. 

2 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 379. 

3 Bjerre, op. cit. pp. 149, 165 sq. 

4 Lorine Pruette, in Ira S. Wile, The Sex Life of the Unmarried 
Adult (London, 1935), p. 297 sq. 


not repented it. And even in the other world, what an 
unhappy life does Jupiter lead with his, whom he had 
first employed as a mistress? " l 

In the discussion of free unions outside ordinary 
marriage the so-called " companionate marriage " 
nowadays plays the most prominent role. This term 
was first used by Dr. M. M. Knight, who pointed out 
that because of changes which have taken place in 
modern civilisation certain very definite modifications 
have happened, almost without being noticed, pro- 
ducing the companionate and the family types; a 
marriage of the former type is a union of two people 
for sexual companionship without the intention of pro- 
ducing offspring. 2 The companionate marriage pro- 
posed by Judge Lindsey, with whose name that term is 
mainly associated, " is legal marriage, with legalised 
birth control and with the right to divorce by mutual 
consent for childless couples, usually without payment 
of alimony. ... It is a state of lawful wedlock, entered 
into for love, companionship, and co-operation by 
persons who, for reasons of health, finances, tempera- 
ment, etc., are not prepared at the time of their 
marriage to undertake the care of a family ". 3 It is by 
no means an invention of a new kind of sexual relation- 
ships: what is new is merely the attitude taken towards 
a type of relationships already existing secretly, by 
frankly recognising them. Such a recognition would 
remove all the difficulties and deceits they now involve, 
and the risks of discovery and humiliation, and thus 
exercise a steadying and ennobling influence. It 
would constitute a new kind of marriage, from which 
many benefits might be expected. The companionate 

1 Montaigne, Essais, book iii. ch. 5. 

2 M. M. Knight, * The Companionate Marriage and the Family', 
in Journal of Social Hygiene , x. (New York, 1924), no. 5. 

3 B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans, The Companionate 
Marriage (London, etc., 1928), pp. v, 175. 


would be well suited to the needs of women in the 
professions who do not wish to handicap themselves in 
their careers by the assumption of the conventional 
family obligations, but who do, nevertheless, desire the 
companionship offered by marriage. It would be well 
adapted to business and professional men whose income 
is not yet sufficient for the support of a family, but who 
do not wish to postpone marriage until such time as an 
adequate income is attained. It would be particularly 
useful to an ever-increasing number of young people, 
between the normal biological age of mating and the 
age at which marriage becomes an economic possibility; 
such as are still in college or in professional schools 
could be supported by their parents in the same way 
as before, and the young couples would continue their 
studies under more favourable conditions. Moreover, 
unfit couples would not commit the crime of bringing 
into the world children with an inferior physical or 
mental inheritance. 1 

But the companionate may also be a valuable pre- 
liminary to ordinary marriage. Judge Lindsey pro- 
tests against the allegation that companionate marriage 
is a " trial marriage ". 2 Yet it appears from many 
statements made by him that it is, to a large extent, 
supposed to serve the same purpose as marriage by 
trial. He says that couples who found in due time that 
they were fitted to remain together definitely, and to 
undertake the joint responsibility of children with a fair 
chance of carrying the big undertaking through happily 
and willingly, would deliberately have children. On 
the other hand, those who found by experience that 
they could not pull together that well, but found the 

1 Lindsey and Evans, op. cit. passim. Cf. Ruth Reed, The Modern 
Family (New York, 1929), p. 170 sqq.\ Ellis, op. cit. vii. (1928), 

y. 499; idem, More Essays of Love and Virtue (London, 1931), p. 42; 
. P. Lichtenberger, Divorce (New York & London), 1931, pp. 438, 
443 sqq. 2 Lindsey and Evans, op. cit. p. vi sq. 


mere sexual bond satisfactory, would not bring into the 
world unwanted children who would lack the benefit 
of a happy home and of correct rearing. 1 " The 
tendency would be for men and women to enter 
Family marriage only on a basis of proved and steadfast 
love, whose quality had already been tested before the 
coming of children ", 2 " In the freedom of the Com- 
panionate, people would have a safe opportunity to 
grow into each other's lives; and they would accom- 
plish that object only if the elements of such growth 
were* really present in their union. . . . The Family 
would thus crown their lives. It would have grown 
as grows the oak, slowly. The early Companionate 
would be a mere sapling beside it. And thus there 
would be created a home which would be a safe nest 
for children, and a sure refuge for the makers of it ". 3 
The companionate would tend to make marriage of the 
family type more stable: " We should avoid divorce, 
not by forbidding it to persons who unfortunately need 
it, but by seeing to it that permanent marriage can be 
contracted only under conditions which will give it a 
reasonable chance of success a much bigger chance 
than it has at present. . . . The way to accomplish that 
is to make eroticism less and less the chief determining 
and controlling factor in people's choice of their 
mates ". 4 

From these statements it is as plain as daylight that 
Judge Lindsey has not, as has been alleged, 5 aimed at 
undermining marriage, but on the contrary to strengthen 
it. Nor is there anything in the least revolutionary 

1 Hdem, The Revolt of Modern Youth (London, etc., 1928), p. 179. 

2 lidem, The Companionate Marriage, p. 277. 

3 Ibid. p. 263 sq. 

4 Ibid. p. 274. 

6 See e.g. E. H. Pirkner, * New Yorker Brief im Februar 1928 ', 
in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1928), p. 60 sq., referring to a sermon by Dr. S. S. Wise in 
Carnegie Hall. 


in his proposals relating to birth control and divorce 
by mutual consent. The latter was permitted to 
childless couples by the Prussian code of I794, 1 and 
is nowadays, in several European and Central American 
countries, permitted by law even to couples who have 
children. 2 But it is impossible for me to understand 
how Judge Lindsey could, with any hope of success, 
advocate the institution of a special kind of marriage, 
with the right of birth control and of divorce by mutual 
consent, in a country where both are prohibited by law? 3 
How is it conceivable that the law could allow certain 
couples to do something that is forbidden to others, 
simply because they wish to do it, and in addition 
grant them another privilege denied to everybody else? 
Judge Lindsey recognises himself that the passing of 
three bills would establish the companionate, as we now 
illegally have it, on a legal basis: first, a bill for an Act 

1 Allgemeines Landrecht fur die Preussischen Staaten (Berlin, 
1828-32), 716. 

2 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 353, 354, 360 n. Infra, 
ch. x. 

3 In a later article (' The Companionate Marriage ', in Birth 
Control Review, 1931 [New York], p. 79) Judge Lindsey complains 
that " many intelligent people thought that companionate marriage 
(about the only kind the clergy perform) was some new kind of 
marriage ". I cannot find that there has been, in this respect, any 
misunderstanding at all. These are his own words: " The licence 
to have children might be made supplementary to the marriage 
contract which would be equivalent to saying that we would then 
have two kinds of marriage contracts, the one sanctioning the con- 
ception of children and the other merely sanctioning cohabitation " 
(The Revolt of Modern Youth, p. 180); " We should provide another 
type of marriage to meet this need (i.e. the need of an outlet permitted 
to the sex impulse other than marriage as we now have it). Whether 
society could wisely permit still other forms of sex liberty than the 
Companionate is a matter for the future " (The Companionate 
Marriage, p. 274). Sympathetic readers of Judge Lindsey's books, 
like J. Lichtenberger (Divorce [New York & London, 1931], p. 445) 
and Bertrand Russell (Marriage and Morals [London, 1929], p. 130), 
speak of his companionate marriage as " a new kind of marriage " 
or as " a new institution " (ibid. p. 129). 


to repeal the present laws relating to birth control; 
secondly, a bill to amend the laws relating to divorce by 
adding a clause providing that " where couples are 
childless, and where the efforts of the magistrate to 
bring about a reconcilement have failed, and where the 
couple mutually desire divorce, the divorce shall be 
granted without further expense or needless delay "; 
thirdly, a bill to regulate the property status of the 
divorce, dealing with the right of the wife to support 
and alimony, which would be withheld or granted 
according to the conditions of the case. 1 Why, then, 
does not Judge Lindsey simply propose such changes 
of the law, instead of provoking terrific excitement by 
suggesting a new kind of marriage to exist side by side 
with the old one? Those changes should not be less 
attainable in his own country than they have proved 
to be elsewhere. The law prohibiting birth control is 
already a dead letter there, and it is well known that if a 
married couple desire divorce they can even now readily 
obtain it under a statutory regulation. But a clause 
introducing mutual consent as a ground of divorce 
might make it possible to dissolve a marriage without 
the assistance of a lawyer and to do it as cheaply as to 
conclude it. A democratic country like the United 
States should not wish divorce to be more difficult for 
the poor man than for the rich. 

It seems quite hopeless to expect that any modern 
law would recognise a probationary union as a particular, 
lower form of marriage. The only thing that the law 
can do in the matter is not to prohibit such a union, and 
if any law nowadays does so it is not enforced. The 
respectability of trial unions depends entirely on the 
social attitude towards them, and this attitude depends 
on their frequency and on the opinions about their 
suitability. This is the way in which the sanction given 
them by rural custom has originated. But this sanction 

1 Lindsey and Evans, The Companionate Marriage, p. 245 sq. 



has not the coarse form that a paragraph of the law 
would have. I have sufficient first-hand knowledge of 
those rural customs to know that there is considerable 
delicacy and secrecy about them. In certain modern 
books dealing with sex relationships concealment is 
looked upon as deceit and decency as hypocrisy. Mr. 
Calverton tells us that for the Modern Youth (always 
written with admiring capitals) " decency has lost its 
spell ", and " cynicism has become the new faith 'V 
Poor youth, unable to appreciate the flavour of an ex- 
quisite flower of life! 

But while law hardly can recognise the trial union as 
a special institution side by side with ordinary marriage, 
it can incorporate its advantages by making divorce as 
easy as the dissolution of such a union. I cannot find 
that Dr. Bjerre's " free " marriage has much raison 
d'etre in his own country, Sweden, where a judicial 
separation can be obtained by mutual consent and such 
a separation may, upon the application of either 
husband or wife, be converted into a divorce after one 
year. The chief difference between a " free " union 
dissolvable by mutual agreement and ordinary marriage 
would apparently consist in the absence of compulsory 
registration of the former, and this would be of very 
doubtful value. There is evidence of this in some 
experience gained in the United States. In almost half 
of the states no marriage licence is required, the union 
of a man and a woman being considered valid if they 
make public admission of their relationship, that is, 
if they live together as husband and wife and acknow- 
ledge their union to their neighbours. This so-called 
common-law marriage is said to lead to gross exploita- 
tion, because without a record of the marriage there is 
often legal uncertainty of the status of wife and children. 
Dr. Nimkoff remarks that the modern movement is 

1 V. F. Calverton, The Bankruptcy of Marriage (London, 1931), 
PP- 28, 31. 


distinctly hostile to such marriage to unions not 
publicly celebrated and recorded and that they will 
presumably be outlawed in additional states. 1 

A very definite kind of trial marriage has been 
proposed by Dr. E. D. Cope, with a view to remove 
matrimonial changes from the domain of caprice and to 
permit them only after a full and fair trial. He main- 
tains that this object can be attained by a system of civil 
marriage contracts which are of the same value and 
effect as the existing marriage contract, but run only 
for a v definite time. The time limits of these contracts 
should increase rapidly in order to prevent women of 
mature years being deprived of support. The first 
contract ought not to run for less than five years, so as 
to give ample opportunity for acquaintance and for the 
recovery from temporary disagreements, and it should 
be terminable at the desire of either party. The second 
contract should run for ten or fifteen years, and should 
then lapse only by desire of both parties; and the third 
contract should provide for permanent relations. He 
thinks that " such a system would offer a safe oppor- 
tunity for the correction of errors in matrimony, and 
a chance for the reorganisation and recommencement 
on a more hopeful basis of the lives of persons who 
have made such mistakes ", 2 In his work, Die Wahl- 
verwandtschaften, Goethe gives utterance to the idea of 
a temporary marriage by the mouth of the Count, who 
advises one of his friends that every marriage should be 
contracted for the term of five years only. " This 
number ", he says, " is a beautiful, sacred, odd number, 
and such a period of time would be sufficient for the 
married pair to learn to know one another, to bring a 
few children into the world, to separate, and, what 
would be most beautiful of all, to come together again ". 

1 M. F. Nimkoff, The Family (Cambridge, Mass,, 1934), p. 504. 

2 E. D. Cope, ' The Marriage Problem ', in The Open Court, ii. 
(Chicago, 1888), p. 1322 sq. 


The first two or three years at least would pass very 
happily. Then very likely one member of the pair 
would wish that the union should be prolonged; and 
this desire would increase the more nearly the terminus 
of the marriage approached. An indifferent, nay even 
an unsatisfied, member of such a union would be 
pleased by such a demeanour on the part of the other; 
and when the allotted time had passed away, they might 
find, with agreeable surprise, that it had been tacitly 
prolonged. 1 Even a Christian philosopher, Charles 
Secretan, in his book, Le droit de la femme, approves of 
marriages contracted for a definite term of years. 

Charlotte Burchow-Hohmeyer advocates such mar- 
riages, not as trial unions but as a solution of two 
particular social problems. She asks what provision 
could be made, within the existing social order, for the 
gratification on the one hand of man's poly gy nous dis- 
position and on the other hand of woman's desire for 
motherhood, without giving offence to our ethical 
sentiments. Her answer is that this object could be 
attained by the institution of a Zeitehe, or temporary 
marriage, as a supplement to the present durable one. 
It might be limited to a period of five years, during 
which the husband had to be faithful to his wife and no 
divorce would be permitted; but the birth of a child 
would automatically extend the marriage by at least 
eight years. She hopes that such an arrangement 
would be helpful to young people and especially to the 
large number of women who otherwise would remain 
unmarried and barren. She admits that this temporary 
marriage may end as a tragedy for the wife, but she 
finds solace in the thought that transitory happiness is 
preferable to lifelong loneliness, and that the marriage 
of limited duration would chiefly be contracted by 
women to whom motherhood means more than the 

1 Goethe, Die Wahlverwandtschaften, pt. i. ch. x. (Sdmtliche 
Werke, xxi. [Stuttgart & Berlin, Jubilaums-Ausgabe], p. 83 sq.). 


durable companionship of a husband. At the same 
time such a marriage might also be converted into a 
permanent one. 1 

Marriages entered into for a fixed period are found 
among several uncivilised peoples; 2 and among the 
ancient Arabs too, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, 
marriages were often contracted for a term of definite 
length, after which the wife might withdraw if she 
pleased. 3 Somewhat of the same character is a tem- 
porary form of marriage which still exists in certain 
parts of Arabia. 4 The Shi' ah Moslems recognise as 
legal marriages contracted for a certain limited period 
a day, a month, a year, or any other specified term. 
Such a temporary contract of marriage, which is called 
mut'ah, creates no right of inheritance in either party, 
although the children born of the union are legitimate 
and inherit from their parents like the issue of a per- 
manent contract. The wife is not entitled to any 
maintenance unless it is expressly stipulated; the 
husband is entitled to refuse procreation, which he 
cannot do in ordinary marriages; and there is also this 
difference between a permanent and a temporary 
marriage, that in the case of the latter the husband has 
no power to divorce his wife, although the marriage 
may be dissolved by the mutual consent of the parties 
before the fixed period has expired. 5 This temporary 
form of marriage exists in Persia to the present day, 6 
but is held to be unlawful by the Sunnls. 7 Temporary 

1 Charlotte Burchow-Hohmeyer, Zeitehe (Berlin & Koln, 1928), 
passim. 2 E. Westermarck, op. cit. iii. 267. 

3 Ammianus Marcellinus, Res gestce, xiv. 4, 4. 

4 G. A. Barton, A Sketch of Semitic Origins Social and Religious 
(New York, 1902), p. 47 sq. 

5 Ameer Ali, Mahommedan Law. ii. (Calcutta, 1908), p. 438 sqq.\ 
Sara Kohn, Die Eheschliessung im Koran (London, 1934), p. 88 sqq. 

6 J. E. Polak, Persien, i. (Leipzig, 1865), p. 207 sq.\ T. P. Hughes, 
A Dictionary of Islam (London, 1896), p. 424. 

7 Ameer AH, op. cit. ii. 438. 


marriages are recognised throughout Tibet, " whether 
contracted for six months, a month, or perhaps a week, 
and . . . those unions are not held immoral 'V In 
Abyssinia, also, there are marriages entered into for a 
fixed period, at the end of which husband and wife 
separate. 2 In old Japan marriages could be contracted 
for five years in the case of persons of standing, and for 
a shorter term among the lower classes. We are told 
that it was very rare for a separation to take place when 
the term expired, and that such a separation hardly ever 
occurred if there were healthy children. 3 

Temporary marriage may no doubt offer certain 
advantages. It may serve as a security for women in 
countries where the husband can divorce an ordinary 
wife whenever he pleases, as he is allowed to do 
according to Mohammedan law and as he could practic- 
ally do in ancient Japan. 4 It may also be a convenience 
to men like the pilgrims who tarry in Mecca for longer 
or shorter spaces of time, and can avail themselves of 
women who go there from Egypt for the avowed purpose 
of entering into such alliances. 5 But among ourselves 
the kind of marriage advocated by Dr. Cope and 
Charlotte Burchow-Hohmeyer, which should be con- 
tracted for a term of five years and be indissoluble 
during this period, would deprive both parties of a right 
granted to all other married people. How serious this 
loss might be is indicated by American statistics, 
according to which the trend seems to be for divorces to 

1 W. W. Rockhill, The Land of the Lamas (London, 1891), 
p. 212. 

2 J. Lobo, * A Voyage to Abyssinia ', in J. Pinkerton, Collection 
of Voyages and Travels, xv. (London, 1914), p. 26; Barton, op. cit. 
p. 48 sq. 

3 A. Wernich, quoted by I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time 
(London, 1908), p. 241. 

4 N. Hozumi, Lectures on the New Japanese Civil Code (Tokyo, 
1912), p. 70^. 

5 C. Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka, ii. (Haag, 1889), pp. 5, 109 sq. 


occur during the first few years of marriage: 1 in 1931, 
for instance, 43-3 per cent, of all divorces were obtained 
during the first five years of married life, 2 and the most 
common year for divorce is nowadays the fourth. 3 
Very similar information comes from Sweden: the 
number of divorces which affected marriages of three 
or four years' duration was, in 1932, larger than the 
number of divorces that were related to any other 
corresponding group of marriages. 4 Another objection 
is that marriages for a term of years, as Dr. Ellis points 
out, would not commend themselves to young lovers, 
who believe that their love is eternal; " nor, so long as 
the union proves satisfactory, is there any need to intro- 
duce the disturbing idea of a legal termination of the 
contract ". 5 

There are other schemes advocating the recognition 
of sexual associations existing side by side with marri- 
age as alternatives more suitable for certain persons. 
GVete Meisel-Hess admits that marriage as the perman- 
ent union of one man and one woman drawn together 
by an intimate harmony of physical and mental qualities 
is and must remain the ideal, But " since the garden 
of marriage fosters so many inimical growths, while the 
free intimacy fails to provide a favourable environment 
for the processes of the sexual life, and since the fact can 
no longer be ignored that permissibility of a change of 
sexual partnerships is indispensable, there will inevitably 
arise a tendency to restore concubinage to the position 
which, in virtue alike of its history and of its future 
developmental possibilities, properly attaches to the 

1 Nimkoff, op. cit. p. 445. 

2 W. Goodsell, A History of Marriage and the Family (New York, 
1934), p. 485. 

3 A. Cahen, Statistical Analysis of American Divorce (New York, 
1932), p. 140. 

4 Sveriges officiella statistik: Befolkningsrorelsen ar 1932 (Stock- 
holm, 1935), p. 44. 

5 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 472. 


institution. . . . Concubinage is a temporary marriage^ 
one that does not involve lifelong obligations, but is 
endowed with the most essential characteristic of. 
marriage, namely, that the pair live openly together. . . . 
The old legal rights of concubinage must be restored; 
new duties must be imposed upon both the men and the 
women who enter into this relationship. ... By the 
introduction of private contracts between the parties, 
formally made in the presence of a legally appointed 
official (such contracts as even to-day are entered into 
by the parties to not a few free-unions), provision must 
be made to safeguard the woman from an entirely 
unconditional surrender. . . . And new duties must be 
imposed also upon the community which is so deeply 
concerned in the results of such unions. If only for 
the reason that society cannot evade all responsibility 
for the offspring of those living in concubinage, the 
relationship must involve the legal enforcement of 
certain duties, and of duties far more extensive than 
that now imposed upon the father to maintain his 
illegitimate children ".* So also C. Gasquoine Hartley 
pleads for open recognition of partnerships outside of 
marriage, " not necessarily permanent, with proper 
provision for the woman and her children, should there 
be any, a provision . . . decided upon by the man and 
woman in the form of a contract before the relationships 
were entered upon ". She thinks that in this way 
many marriages would be prevented which inevitably 
would come to disaster. 2 

A legally recognised concubinage would certainly 
imply the restoration of an ancient European institution. 
It occurred in Rome side by side with marriage. 3 It 

1 Crete Meisel-Hess, The Sexual Crisis (New York, 1917), 
pp. 60, 72 sqq. 

2 C. Gasquoine Hartley, Women> Children, Love and Marriage 
(London, 1924), p. 181. 

3 Digesta, i. 16. 144. 


was also a recognised institution in Christian Europe. 
In Germany it existed throughout the Middle Ages; 1 
and according to Jutland law a concubine who for three 
years had openly shared bed and board with a man 
became his wedded wife. 2 In England, late in the 
thirteenth century, Bracton speaks of the concubina 
legitima as entitled to certain rights and considerations; 3 
and among the clergy it prevailed universally, although 
it was the object of unremitting assault from councils 
and prelates. 4 Elsewhere in Europe concubinage had 
so established itself among the clerical order that even 
the loftiest prelates shrunk from encountering the risk 
attendant upon an attempt to enforce the canons 
against it. In 1537 the Archbishop of Salzburg timidly 
suggested in a pastoral letter that if the clergy could not 
restrain their passions, they should at all events indulge 
them secretly, so that scandal might be avoided and the 
punishment of their transgressions be left to an avenging 
God. 5 In Spain, in the thirteenth and following cen- 
turies, all attempts to suppress clerical concubinage 
were likewise in vain. 6 It is easy to understand that 
where marriage is indissoluble, or as in the case of the 
Roman Catholic clergy, forbidden, concubinage is 
frequently resorted to and may, in spite of formal 
prohibitions, gain social recognition. In the State of 
South Carolina, where divorce is entirely pro- 
hibited, it has been necessary for the authorities to 

1 K. Weinhold, Die deutschen Frauen in dem Mittelalter, ii. (Wien, 
1882), p. 1 6 sq.\ W. Rudeck, Geschichte der offentlichen Sittlichkeit in 
Deutschland(]zr\2i, 1897), p. 171; W. Mittermaier, ' Konkubinat ', in 
Marcuse, Handworterbuch der Sexualwissenschaft, p. 279. 

2 * Jyske Lov ', i. 27, in Danmarks gamle Landskabslove wed 
Kirkelovene> ii. (Kobenhavn, 1926), p. 68 sq. 

3 H. de Bracton, De legibus et consuetudinibus Anglice, book ii. ch. 
30 (vol. i. [London, 1878], p. 506); book iv. treat, vi. (vol. iv. [1881], 
p. 500). 

4 H. C. Lea, History of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian 
Church (London, 1932), p. 244, 

5 Ibid. p. 445 sq. Ibid. p. 260 sq t 


enact special legislation concerning the personal and 
property rights of extra-legal wives and children. 1 Mr. 
Fellows writes: " Concubinage is licensed in England, 
for no effective law forbids it. By reason of the 
unfairness of our divorce laws it is extremely prevalent". 2 
There is thus a causal connection between the legislation 
concerning divorce and concubinage. Where the for- 
mer is prohibitive, the latter has a useful function to 
fulfil, whereas a sufficiently liberal divorce law makes 
concubinage superfluous. Consequently, as there is 
reason to believe that in the future divorce will become 
as easy in the other Western countries as it already is in 
some of them, there is no reason to suppose that 
concubinage will reappear in our midst as a recognised 
social institution. 

1 Nimkoff, op. cit. p. 456. 

2 A. Fellows, The Case against the English Divorce Law (London, 
1932), P. 234. 



PRE-MARITAL sexual intercourse is considered to be a 
desirable prelude to marriage not only when it has the 
character of a trial union with the future spouse, but 
also on account of the general erotic experience pro- 
vided by it. Vatsayana mentions, among the men who 
succeed easily with the objects of their love, " men who 
are experienced in the art of making love; men who 
were once married but have lost their wife ". l It is a 
fairly common opinion, especially in France, that the 
young man who is to become a steady husband should 
have enjoyed the pleasures of life to the full and, above 
all, gained experience in the sphere of love. Among 
the upper classes this experience is generally received 
from prostitutes; but in Adler's opinion, ' the man 
who is not specially endowed by nature and experience 
for psychic intercourse with women, is not likely, 
through his earlier intercourse with Venus vulgivaga, 
to bring into marriage any useful knowledge, psychic 
or physical ". 2 Havelock Ellis points out that such 
training may make him waver between two opposite 
courses of action, both of them mistaken. " On the 
one hand, he may treat his bride as a prostitute, or as 
a novice to be specially moulded into the sexual shape 
he is most accustomed to, thus running the risk either 
of perverting or of disgusting her. On the other hand, 

1 Vatsayana, The Kama Sutra (Amritsar, 1930), p. 233. 

2 O. Adler, Die mangelhafte Geschlechtsempfindung des Weibes 
(Berlin, 1911), p. 186 sq. 



realising that the purity and dignity of his bride place 
her in an altogether different class from the women he 
has previously known, he may go to the opposite 
extreme of treating her with an exaggerated respect, and 
so fail either to arouse or to gratify her erotic needs ". l 
Dr. Marie Stopes says that she knows of a man who, 
after a dissolute life, met a woman whom he reverenced 
and adored and eventually married; but to preserve her 
" purity " her difference from the others he never 
consummated his marriage with her, which made her 
strangely unhappy. 2 The same writer observes that 
the jprostitute sometimes supplies an element which is 
not purely physical, and which is often lacking in the 
wife's relation with her husband, an element of charm 
and mutual gaiety in pleasure. 3 

It would seem that in order to gain really useful sex 
experience, a man should receive it from a woman who 
belongs, more or less, to his own class. Nowadays he 
does so, in some countries at least, to a considerable 
extent also among people of education. Lindsey, who 
was judge of the Juvenile Court in Denver for a period 
of twenty-six years and made it a laboratory for moral 
advice and instruction, states that 15 to 25 per cent, of 
those high-school girls who begin with hugging and 
kissing eventually " go the limit ". 4 Of the one hundred 
married women in New York city studied by Dr. 
Hamilton, all of whom had attained a relatively high 
level of culture, 20 per cent, gave a history of pre- 
marital sex intercourse with men other than their 
husbands, 5 and of these a comparatively large number 

1 H. Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex y vi. (Philadelphia, 
1923), p. 523. 

2 Marie Stopes, Married Love (London, 1926), p. 55. 

3 Ibid. p. 174. 

4 B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans, The Revolt of Modern 
Youth (London, etc., 1928), p. 62. 

5 G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage (New York, 1929), 
p. 346. 



belonged to the younger generation, which suggests, as 
he says, an increasing tendency toward sexual uncon- 
ventionality among the women. 1 But Dr. Hamilton's 
findings do not support the contention that pre-marital 
sex experience on the part of men is conducive to 
marital happiness; on the contrary, when correlating 
it with degree of satisfaction in marriage, he found that 
a higher percentage of those men who were virgins at 
marriage belonged to the satisfied group than did those 
who were not. 2 It is to be feared that the libertine 
Sooner or later breaks loose again when married. 

It is further contended that pre-marital sex relations 
even of a promiscuous kind may exercise a favourable 
influence upon marriage by delaying it. Balzac, in 
speaking of the danger of early marriages, quotes 
Rousseau's words: " There must always be a period of 
licence, at one age if not at another; a leaven is only bad 
which ferments too soon or too late ". 3 Without such 
an outlet the sexual impulse may be too powerful to be 
restrained, and consequently lead to a premature and 
unhappy marriage. Or, if restrained, it may be the 
cause of much discomfort and even unhealth. On the 
question whether prolonged abstinence from sexual 
intercourse is injurious to physical and mental health 
or not, there is much diversity of opinion among 
medical writers; the result seems to differ considerably 
in different cases. As for the soothing of the sexual 
passion, it should be remembered that abstinence from 
sexual intercourse does not imply abstinence from all 
sexual activity. Nature has provided mankind with 
" sex safety valves " (to use Dr. Collins' phrase), 4 
which are adequate if too much strain is not put upon 

1 Ibid. p. 383 sq. 

2 Ibid. pp. 393, 541 sq. 

3 Supra, p. 52. 

4 J. Collins, The Doctor Looks at Love and Life (London, 1926), 
p. 1 8 sq. 


them; and practically all men and very many women 
strive for and obtain some form of orgastic appease- 
ment. However useful sexual intercourse may be to the 
unmarried it has also its disadvantages. It may give 
venereal disease to him who practises it; and it may be 
fraught with serious consequences also for the female 
partner, which the men are only too often apt to ignore. 
One consequence is eventual pregnancy leading to 
childbirth, if not interrupted by abortion. The pro- 
portion of illegitimate births, while varying greatly in 
different countries, is much higher among the poor 
than among the well-to-do, and particularly high among 
the younger girls; in 1918, in the registration area of 
the United States, 45-2 per cent, of the unmarried 
mothers were under twenty years of age, while the 
nodal age for such girls was from eighteen to nineteen. 1 
The girl has to pay for \\erfaux pq$ in many ways. She 
is generally, at least among Targe strata of society, dis- 
graced for ever, and may be treated as an outcast, even 
in the most pathetic circumstances. According to 
Carol Aronovici, five of the maternity hospitals in 
Philadelphia refused to take unmarried mothers and 
five others took them only in emergency cases. Of the 
thirty-one states that have enacted some form of 
mother's pensions twenty-nine extend the benefits only 
to mothers of legitimate children, whilst most of the 
others make such specifications with regard to good 
conduct in the community as to exclude the unmarried 
mother. 2 ^legijtimate .childbirth i^s^f regiment cause of 
prostitution, both on account of the consequences^of 
the mother's lost virginity and for economic reasons. 3 
Nowadays she has generally the right to claim support 
for her child from its father. Even the famous French 

1 Ruth Reed, The Modern Family (New York, 1929), p. 138. 

2 Ibid. p. 136. 

3 M. Marcuse, Uneheliche Mutter (Berlin, [1907]), p. 80 sq.; A. 
Moll, Handbuch der Se&ualwissenschaften (Leipzig, 1912), p. 391. 

vii FREE LOVE 127 

law according to which it was prohibited to inquire into 
the paternity of an illegitimate child was changed in 
1912 into a prohibition of doing so only if the mother, 
during the legal period of conception, has led a notori- 
ously bad life or is known to have had sexual inter- 
course with another man. 1 The German code makes 
a similar exception in the latter case only. 2 On the 
other hand, in Austria 3 and Hungary 4 the law knows no 
such exceptio plurimum concumbentium: if the mother 
has had several lovers she is permitted to select for 
herself which she chooses to make responsible for her 
child. But there are numbers of cases in which the 
girl, for some reason or other, can obtain no support at 
all from the father of her child; 5 in Berlin she could do 
so only in a third part of the cases of illegitimate birth, 
between the years 1904 and igia. 6 And when she 
receives some support the amount of it is generally 
quite inadequate from the child 's point of view. 

The illegitimacy of birth affects the offspring even 
more than" the mother. The death-rate for illegitimate 
infants is very much higher than that for legitimate 
ones: in various European countries it is about twice 
as great or almost so, 7 and in the cities in the United 

1 E. Wilhelm, ' Uber die Rechte der unehelichen Kinder in 
Frankreich unter besonderer Beriicksichtigung der Rechtslage in 
Elsass-Lothringen ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft mid Sexual- 
politik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 21 sq. 

2 Ibid. xv. 22; J. Duck, * Gegen die Begiinstigung der Mutter in 
Vaterschaftsprozessen ', ibid. xv. 354. 3 Ibid. xv. 354 sq. 

4 A. Konig, * Ungarische Regierungsmassnahmen gegen die 
Unsittlichkeit ', ibid. xiv. (Berlin & Koln, 1927), p. 31. 

5 See e.g. R. Michels, Sittlichkeit in Ziffern? (Miinchen & 
Leipzig, 1928), p. 87. 

6 Annemarie Wulff, ' Das Schicksal der Unehelichen in Berlin ', 
reviewed in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. 
(Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 489. 

7 Michels, op. cit. p. 87 sqq.\ Moll, op. cit. p. 431; Wulff, re- 
viewed loc. cit. p, 489; L. D. Pesl, ' Fruchtabtreibung und Findel- 
haus ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. 
(Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 322; V. F. Calverton, The Bankruptcy of 


States almost four times as great. 1 The cause of this is 
the unmarried mother's inferior economic and social 
conditions; " it is here society that operates and kills, 
not nature " (Riihle). Another result of them is the 
comparatively large number of criminals among the 
children of unmarried parents, who grow up in so 
unfavourable circumstances. 2 The way in which they 
have been treated in the Western world is a disgrace 
to its civilisation. Owing to Christianity's horror of 
sexual acts falling outside the monogamous marriage 
relation, the offspring of illicit intercourse were punished 
for their parents' sins with ignominy and loss of rights 
that belonged to other, more respectable members of 
the Church and the State. In Teutonic countries their 
position was much better in earlier times than subse- 
quently, when the new religion made its influence felt, 
depriving them of all title to inheritance; and in some 
law-books they were treated as almost rightless beings, 
on a par with robbers and thieves. 3 There are still 

Marriage (London, 1931), p. 188 sq.\ G. May, Social Control of Sex 
Expression (London, 1930), p. 215; G. Modeen, * Dodlighet och 
livslangd ', in Nya Argus, xxvii. (Helsingfors, 1934), p. 181 (Finland). 

1 Reed, op. cit. p. 146. 

2 Moll, op. cit. p. 432; Wulff, reviewed loc. cit. p. 490; Frau 
Uhlmann, * Jugendfursorge und Sexualpadagogik ', in A. Weil, 
Sexualreform und Sexualwissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1922), p. 268. 

3 E. Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral 
Ideas, i. (London, 1912), p. 47; ii. (1917), pp. 49, 57, 431. It makes 
one smile to find that the most radical denial of illegitimate children's 
rights comes from a great philosopher. Immanuel Kant (Meta- 
physische Anfangungsgriinde derRechtslehre,\\$ [Gesammelte Schriften, 
vi. (Berlin, 1914), p. 335 *<?])> argues that as the infant has been born 
outside the law, it is not protected by the law. It has, as it were, 
crept into the community as contraband (verbotene IVaare), and as it 
should not be there at all, the community may ignore both its exist- 
ence and its destruction. He looks upon this as a dictate of " prac- 
tical reason "; but, as I have tried to show in my book, Ethical 
Relativity (London, 1932), ch. ix., all his dictates of that mysterious 
faculty are really only expressions of his emotions; and in the present 
case the puritanic influence is obvious. 


traces left of this iniquity. Even the German law, 
which prescribes that illegitimate children shall have 
the same rights with regard to their physical, mental, 
and social development as have the children of married 
parents, is not applied to their title to inheritance, nor to 
the amount of support received by their mother. 1 Soviet 
Russia is the only country in Europe where there is no il- 
legitimacy of birth, all children having exactly the same 
rights. 2 It certainly seems both absurjlaad unjust that 
the legal rights of any citizens sKoul3* be influenced by 
the judgments which society passes upon their mothers; 
but however much legislation may improve the ^condi- 
tions of illegitimate children, it cannot make them eqt^al 
to those under which most other children develop. 
Family allowances may be granted to their mothers 
where the father is unknown or indigent, foundling 
institutions may provide them with an education that is 
the best possible in the circumstances, but nothing can 
compensate them for their lack of an adequate home. 3 
While the law can give the child of an unmarried 
mother the same rights as it grants the child of a 
married one, it could, of course, in a monogamic society 
give the unmarried mother the rights of a married 
woman, by compelling the father to marry her, only if 
he had no wife before. Among many savage peoples 
and among certain strata of the population in civilised 
countries, custom requires him to do so, and it has been 
urged by some modern writers that there should be a 
law to the same effect. 4 It is said that every healthy 

1 Anna Siemsen, ' Die gesellschaftliche Stellung des Kindes und 
die deutsche Gesetzgebung ', in Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft 
und Sexualpolitik, xvii. (Berlin & Koln, 1930), p. 20. 

2 Fannie W. Halle, Die Frau in Sowjetrussland (Berlin, etc., 1932), 
p. 196; Calverton, op. cit. p. 232. 

3 Cf. Wulff, reviewed loc. cit. p. 490. 

4 H. Sellheim, Moderne Gedanken uber Geschlechtsbeziehungen 
(Leipzig, 1929), reviewed in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und 
Sexualpolitik, xvii. (Berlin & Koln, 1930), p. 73; Ellis, op. cit. vi. 488. 



woman, married or unmarried, has a right to be proud 
of her motherhood; that the taking of a husband should 
not be imposed on her as the price of her right to give 
birth to a child; that the social stigma attaching to un- 
married maternity should be removed. 1 But it cannot 
be removed by legislation. And as long as this stigma re- 
mains, the man who makes an unmarried woman preg- 
nant inflicts an injury upon her, apart from any other 
evil consequences that may result from her pregnancy. 

It may of course be argued that all such evils can 
be avoided through the use of contraceptives. Dr. 
Ellis maintains that the much smaller rate of illegitimate 
children in England, compared with the rate of such 
children in Germany, is clue to the wider adoption of 
methods for preventing conception; 2 but when we 
hear that their number is rapidly increasing in Germany, 
in spite of the fact that contraceptives are used on a 
large scale among all classes, we can by no means feel 
reassured that extra-matrimonial procreation will some 
day become an anachronism. Strictly speaking, how- 
ever, the censure to which the unmarried mother is 
subjected refers to something else than the birth of the 
child: this event is only a conclusive and impressive 
testimony of an act which itself is considered degrading. 

The Christian attitude towards extra-matrimonial 
connections was fixed by the Church. While looking 
with suspicion even on the lifelong union of one man 
with one woman, she pronounced all other forms of 
sexual intercourse to be mortal sins. But in this, as in 
many other points of morals, there has always been 
considerable discrepancy between Christian doctrine 
and public opinion in Christian countries. The in- 
fluence of the ascetic doctrine of the Church was in one 
respect quite contrary to its aspirations: the institution 

1 A. Forel, Sexuelle Ethik (Miinchen, 1906), p. 22 sq.\ G. B. 
Shaw, Getting Married (London, 1913), p. 141; Lindsey and Evans, 
op. cit. p. 220. 2 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 489 n. i. 

vii FREE LOVE 131 

of clerical celibacy created a large class of people to 
whom illicit love was the only means of gratifying a 
natural desire, and this could hardly be favourable to 
the ideal of chastity. During the Middle Ages incon- 
tinence was largely an object of ridicule rather than 
censure, and in the comic literature of that period the 
clergy are represented as the great corrupters of 
domestic virtue. Whether the tenet of chastity laid 
down by the code of chivalry was taken more seriously 
may be fairly doubted. For a mediaeval knight the 
chief object of life was love; he who did not understand 
how to win a lady was but half a man; and the difference 
between a lover and a seducer was apparently slight. 

The Reformation brought about some change, if in 
no other respect at least by making marriage lawful 
for the clergy. In fits of religious enthusiasm even 
the secular legislators busied themselves with acts of 
incontinence in which two unmarried adults of different 
sex were consenting parties. In England, in the days 
of the Commonwealth, in cases of less serious breach of 
chastity than adultery and incest, each man or woman 
was for each offence to be committed to the common 
gaol for three months; and in Scotland, after the 
Reformation, fornication was punished with a severity 
nearly equal to that which attended the infraction of the 
marriage vow. 1 But the fate of these and similar laws 
has been either to be repealed or to become invalid. 
For ordinary acts of incontinence public opinion is, 
practically at least, the only judge. In the case of 
female unchastity its sentence is severe enough among 
the upper ranks of society, while, so far as the lower 
classes are concerned, it varies considerably even in 
different parts of the same country, and is in many 
cases mild or acquitting. As to similar acts committed 
by unmarried men, the words which Cicero uttered on 
behalf of Coelius might be repeated by any modern 

1 The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, ii. 432 sq. 


advocate who, in defending his client, ventured to 
express frankly the popular opinion on the subject. He 
said: " If there be anyone who thinks that youth is to 
be wholly interdicted from amours with courtesans, he 
certainly is very strict indeed. I cannot deny what he 
says; but still he is at variance not only with the licence 
of the present age, but even with the habits of our 
ancestors, and with what they used to consider allow- 
able ", 1 It seems to me that with regard to sexual 
relations between unmarried men and women Chris- 
tianity has done little more than establish a standard 
which, though accepted perhaps in theory, is hardly 
recognised by the feelings of the large majority of 
people or at least of men in Christian countries. 

This double standard has found expression even in 
legislation. In Germany, in the Middle Ages, the 
protection of the law extended only to respectable 
women. The crime of rape upon an unmarried woman 
was possible only if she was a virgin; in the terms of 
the Schwabenspiegel, the mediaeval code of Southern 
Germany, the light woman is non-suited from any 
action against a man for carnal violence. 2 And in the 
Supreme Court of the German Empire it was not long 
ago laid down that a husband has the right to contest 
the validity of her marriage if he learns that before 
the marriage was contracted his wife has had sexual 
relations with another man and has concealed the fact 
from his knowledge; whereas the same Court rejected 
the plea of a woman who contested the validity of her 
marriage on the ground that her husband had concealed 
the fact of having previously had a child by another 
woman. 3 

The double standard has been criticised by modern 

1 Cicero, Pro Ccelio, 20 (48). 

2 H. Dorn, Strafrecht und Sittlichkeit (Miinchen, 1907), p. 21. 

3 R. Michels, Sexual Ethics (London & Felling-on-Tyne, 1914), 
p. 169. 

vii FREE LOVE 133 

writers, who claim that with regard to pre-marital 
sexual relations there should be perfect equality be- 
tween the sexes. This aim might be achieved in two 
different ways. Some maintain that if it is wrong for 
a woman to indulge in such relations, it is also wrong 
for a man to do so; whereas others argue that if a man 
has the right to be incontinent, a woman should have 
the same right. Ellen Key writes: " The modern 
woman's great distress has been the discovery of the 
dissimilarity between her own erotic nature and that 
of man; or rather, she has refused and still refuses to 
make this discovery and thinks that only the custom of 
society with its wholesome severity towards her, its 
reckless leniency towards him has brought about the 
difference which exists and which she would abolish. 
But while one group proposes to do so by demanding 
feminine chastity of the man, the other would claim 
masculine freedom for the woman "- 1 The earlier 
feminists belonged largely to the former group; but 
when they advocated sexual equality between men and 
women it was, apparently, not in the first place sexual 
morality that they had at heart. " It became increas- 
ingly evident ", says Mr. Wells, " that a large part of 
the woman's suffrage movement was animated less by 
the desire for freedom and fullness of life, than by a 
passionate jealousy and hatred of the relative liberties of 
men. For one woman in the resuscitated movement 
who wanted to live generously and nobly, a score were 
desirous merely of making things uncomfortable for 
the insolent, embarrassing, oblivious male. . . . That 
feminism had anything to do with sexual health and 
happiness, was repudiated by these ladies with flushed 
indignation so soon as the suggestion was made plain to 
them ". 2 Dr. Davis' question whether a young man 

1 Ellen Key, Love and Marriage (New York & London, 1911), 
p. 89 sq. 

2 H. G. Wells, Experiment in Autobiography , ii. (London, 1934), 
p. 483 sq. 


before marriage is ever justified in having sex inter- 
course, was answered in the negative by 806, or 79 per 
cent., of the women to whom the question was put, and 
in the affirmative by 213, or 20-9 per cent. Various 
conditions were suggested by the minority group, such 
as temptation, the strain and stress of exceptional cir- 
cumstances, or injury to health; some considered that 
love was sufficient justification, and others that ob- 
stacles to marriage would justify engaged couples. 
Again, the question whether a young woman before 
marriage was ever justified in having sex intercourse, 
was answered in the negative by 772, or 80-5 per cent., 
of the women, and in the affirmative by 186, or 19-4 per 
cent., which shows only a slight variation, i-i per cent., 
from the opinions expressed in regard to young men; 
and those who replied affirmatively offered the same 
sort of justification for the women as for the men. 1 
But most of the women questioned belonged to the 
pre-war generation. 

Bertrand Russell points out that modern feminists 
are no longer so anxious as the feminists of thirty years 
ago to curtail the " vices " of men, but ask rather that 
what is permitted to men shall be permitted also to 
them. He is himself in sympathy with this view. " It 
is evident ", he says, " that so long as many men for 
economic reasons find early marriage impossible, while 
many women cannot marry at all, equality as between 
men and women demands a relaxation in the tradi- 
tional standards of feminine virtue. If men are allowed 
pre-nuptial intercourse (as in fact they are), women 
must be allowed it also. And, in all countries where 
there is an excess of women, it is an obvious injustice 
that those women who by arithmetical necessity must 
remain unmarried should be wholly debarred from 
sexual experience. Doubtless the pioneers of the 

1 Katharine B. Davis, Factors in the Sex Life of Twenty-two 
Hundred Women (New York, 1929), p. 349 sqq. 

vii FREE LOVE 135 

women's movement had no such consequences in view, 
but their modern followers perceive them clearly, and 
whoever opposes these deductions must face the fact 
that he or she is not in favour of justice to the female 
sex ". 1 The equality between the sexes as regards the 
right to sexual relationships outside marriage had been 
advocated long before, at the time of the French revolu- 
tion and by socialist writers, 2 and nowadays the cause 
has many champions both in Europe and America. 3 
In Soviet Russia the same liberties in sex as in other 
human relations are, as a matter of course, granted to 
men and women. " If a man and woman wish to go 
off on a trip on the Volga or to the Caucasus for a love- 
life of their own for a week, a month, a year, any period, 
it is their affair, and only theirs. The law will not 
interfere with them; nor will public opinion; nor any- 
body or anything else. It is as respectable a procedure 
or indulgence as a honeymoon with one's own spouse ". 4 
The double standard of pre-nuptial chastity has 
been attributed to a variety of causes. It is said to be 
due chiefly to the opinion that the sexual instinct is 
stronger in man than in woman. 5 Another alleged 
cause is that virginity is practically the sole criterion of 
assured paternity: " the hymen, therefore, is like the 
seal used by stores to ensure the fact that goods which 

1 B. Russell, Marriage and Morals (London, 1929), pp. 69, 72 sq. 

2 E. H. Kisch, Die sexuelle Untreue der Fran, ii. (Bonn, 1918), 
p. 98 sqq.\ Michels, Sittlichkeit in Ziffern? p. 58 sq. Infra, p. 157, 

3 E.g. K. F. Friedlaender, * Sexualreform und weiblicher 
Geschlechtstrieb ', in A. Weil, Sexualreform und Sexualwissenschaft 
(Stuttgart, 1922), p. 134; Kaibel, Das Problem der Virginitdt in der 
heutigen Wende der Weltanschauung (Weimar, 1928), reviewed in 
Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1929), p. 584 sq.\ L. Blum, Le Manage (Paris, 1920); G. 
Anquetil, La Maitresse Ugitime (Paris, 1922); S. D. Schmalhausen, 
Why We Misbehave (New York, 1928), p. 14 sq.\ Calverton, op. cit. 
p. 94. 

4 M. Hindus, Humanity Uprooted (London, etc., 1929), p. 94 sq. 

5 Friedlaender, loc. cit. p. 134. 


are exposed to sale have not been touched or handled. . . . 
A great over-valuation of virginity is found only in 
communities that treat their women as if they were 
chattels 'V According to Judge Lindsey, the demand 
for chastity in women rather than in men has reasons 
connected with the inheritance of property, and the 
desire of men to leave their possessions to children of 
their own begetting. 2 Bloch thinks it is possible that 
the demand for the virgin intactness of the wife at the 
time of marriage is based upon the old experience that 
by sexual intercourse, and still more by the first concep- 
tion, certain far-reaching specific changes are induced 
in the feminine organism, so that the first man im- 
pregnates the feminine being for ever in his own sense, 
and even transmits his influence to children of a second 
male progenitor 3 (a rather fantastic explanation which 
presupposes that the said " experience " must have 
been very widespread, also in the savage world). 
Other suggested explanations are that the demand in 
question is rooted in man's vanity, 4 or in the humilia- 
tion he feels if he has to accept " second-hand goods ", 5 
Bertrand Russell says " it would seem that it is only 
with the introduction of the patriarchal system that men 
came to desire virginity in their brides. Where the 
matrilineal system exists young women sow their wild 
oats as freely as young men ". 6 This allegation is 
apparently based (like some other statements made by 
him with reference to " matrilineal societies ") upon 
the customs of one small matrilineal people, the 
Trobriand Islanders in Melanesia. According to Dr. 

1 E. Wexberg, Individual Psychology and Sex (London, 1931), 

P. 158. 

2 B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans, The Compamonate 
Marriage (London, etc., 1928), p. 283 sq. 

3 I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time (London, 1908), p. 200 sq. 

4 Kaibel, reviewed loc. cit. p. 585. 

5 Schmalhausen, op. cit. p. 66 sq. 

6 Russell, op. cit. p. 27. 

viz FREE LOVE 137 

Briffault, the demand for virginity in the bride is in 
the first instance a claim established by the contract of 
child-marriage, the lack of virginity being a breach of 
faith and an act of commercial dishonesty. 1 To this 
theory various objections may be raised, as I have 
pointed out elsewhere; 2 not the least important among 
them is that a high standard of pre-nuptial chastity in 
the bride is reported by competent observers to exist 
among a large number of savage peoples who are not 
known to practise infant-betrothal as a rule, and whose 
marriages are no business transactions. 

As to the demand for virginity in the bride among 
savage peoples, it may be said that among a very large 
number of them there is no such demand. Yet in 
looking at the facts a little more closely, we find, first, 
that in many cases the pre-nuptial freedom is not 
primitive but due to contact with civilised races; and 
secondly, that the sexual connections between a boy and 
a girl are very frequently a preliminary to their marriage, 
being either a regular method of courtship or a trial 
before establishing more permanent relations. It also 
seems that there may have been some misunderstanding 
as to the actual character of those relations. We often 
read that a girl is blamed or even severely punished for 
having a pre-nuptial child, although both sexes enjoy 
perfect freedom previous to marriage. I find it difficult 
to believe that at the birth of an illegitimate child, which 
is said to be a rare event, the condemnation merely 
refers to the fact that there has been neither contra- 
ception (which is not known to be very common among 
savages) nor abortion; but there may also be another 
explanation. " It is scarcely credible ", says Torday, 
" that Bantu parents and elders should be devoid of 
common sense to such an extent as to permit their 
children to have promiscuous intercourse and yet visit 

1 R. Briffault, The Mothers, iii. (London, 1927), p. 334 sqq. 

2 Three Essays on Sex and Marriage (London, 1934), p. 245 sqq. 


them with dire penalties when the natural consequence, 
pregnancy, follows "; and he thinks we may assume 
" that whatever freedom boys and girls take with each 
other, as a rule actual sexual intercourse does not take 
place 'V Other authoritative ethnologists have made 
statements to the same effect with reference to Bantu 
and Nilotic tribes. 2 Those practices might then be 
very similar to the night-courting customs which are so 
common among Teutonic and Celtic peoples and which 
as I am told by Dr. K. R. V. Wikman, who has studied 
them more minutely than anybody else do not norm- 
ally imply coitus, unless they have the character of 
trial unions calculated to testify the woman's capacity 
for bearing children. In any case, however commonly 
pre-nuptial chastity be disregarded in the savage world, 
we must not suppose that such disregard is anything 
like a general characteristic of the lower races. The 
statistical investigation into such chastity among the 
" simpler peoples ", which has been made with much 
industry and care by Messrs. Hobhouse, Wheeler, and 
Ginsberg, has led them to the conclusion that among 
the cases examined by them about 120 in number, 
probable ones reckoned as a half those in which pre- 
nuptial relations are condemned are nearly as numerous 
as those in which they are condoned; and my own 
collection of facts convinces me that the savage standard 
of pre-nuptial continence has not been overestimated by 
those authors. It is obvious that it is not proportionate 
to the tribe's degree of culture. Generally speaking, 
the lower hunters have a stricter standard than the 
higher ones, and the lowest agricultural stage comes out 
materially better than the two higher stages; while the 

1 E. Torday, ' The Principles of Bantu Marriage ', in Africa, ii. 
(London, 1929), p. 256. 

2 C. Dundas, * Native Laws of some Bantu Tribes of East Africa ', 
in The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, li. (London, 
1921), p. 247; J. H. Driberg, The Lango (London, 1923), p. 155 n. 2. 

vii FREE LOVE 139 

higher agricultural tribes stand considerably below the 
pastoral ones. 1 

The social condemnation of pre-nuptial unchastity 
in women is obviously due to the preference which a 
man gives to a virgin bride. Such preference is a fact 
of very general occurrence both among uncivilised and 
civilised peoples, although there are exceptions to the 
rule. Desire for offspring may induce a savage to 
marry a young woman who has borne a child, or a virgin 
bride may be avoided because " she who has not been 
knoXvn to others can have nothing pleasing about her ", 
or because a wife " is nothing worth unless she has been 
used to consort with men ", 2 The preference given to 
virgin brides springs, no doubt, partly from a feeling 
akin to jealousy of women who have had previous 
connections with other men, but also largely from an 
instinctive appreciation of female coyness. Each sex is 
attracted by the distinctive characteristics of the opposite 
sex, and coyness is a feminine quality. In mankind, as 
among the lower animals, the female requires to be 
courted, often endeavouring for a long time to escape 
from the male. And it is certainly not the woman who 
yields most readily to the desires of a man that is most 
attractive to him; as an ancient writer puts it, all men 
love seasoned dishes, not plain meats, or plainly dressed 
fish, and it is modesty that gives the bloom to beauty. 3 
Conspicuous eagerness in a woman appears to a man 
unwomanly, repulsive, contemptible; his ideal is the 
virgin, the lustful woman he despises. Where marriage 
is the customary form of sexual relations, pre-nuptial 
incontinence in a woman, as suggesting lack of coy- 
ness and modesty, is therefore more or less apt to dis- 
grace her. At the same time it is a disgrace to, and 

1 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, i. (London, 
1921), p. 126 sqq.\ Three Essays on Sex and Marriage, p. 223 sqq. 

2 The History of Human Marriage, i. 160 sqq. 

3 Athenaeus, Dcipnosophistte, xiii. 16. 


consequently an offence against, her family, especially 
where the ties of kinship are strong. Moreover, where 
wives are purchased the unchaste girl, by lowering her 
market value, deprives her father or parents of part of 
their property. This commercial point of view is 
found not only among savage peoples, but is expressed 
in the Mosaic rule: " If a man entice a maid that is 
not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow 
her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give 
her unto him, he shall pay money according to the 
dowry of virgins 'V The girl, however, is not the 
only offender: the offence against her family is divided 
between her and the seducer, who is regarded in the 
light of a robber spoiling their merchandise. Marriage by 
purchase has thus raised the standard of female chastity, 
and also, to some extent, checked the incontinence of 
the men. But in numerous instances where a seduc- 
tion is followed by more or less serious consequences 
for the seducer, the penalty he has to pay is evidently 
something else than the mere market value of the girl. 
With the increasing independence of daughters a 
seduction has, more or less, ceased to be looked upon 
as an offence against the family. It has never been 
seriously looked upon as an offence against the girl. 
Even in the case of rape the harm done to her is among 
many savages not considered at all; nay, the Teutons 
in early days hardly severed rape from abduction, the 
kinsmen of the woman feeling themselves equally 
wronged in either case. 2 Among ourselves the seducer 
generally goes scot-free, while all dishonour falls on the 
woman. He therefore incurs a responsibility which is 
not lessened by being generally ignored. Her error 
may be cancelled by marriage with her partner; but the , 
partnership may also be terminated at any moment, to 
the detriment of the woman. As Moll observes, " a 

1 Exodus, xxii. 16 sq. 
2 The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, ii. 437 sq. 

vii FREE LOVE 141 

prostitute knows that she is an object of pleasure for a 
definite time, a woman who associates herself with a 
man in free love is always the injured party when they 
separate "* "If absolute freedom to love reigned ", 
says Gina Lombroso, " all women would be unhappy ". 2 
Crete Meisel-Hess writes: " Panegyrics of the free 
sexual union are based upon a profound ignorance of 
the masculine nature. Man is ill-adapted for the free 
intimacy. ... In marriage the man does not give free 
rein to his inclinations . . . whereas he cannot leave 
his * beloved ' quickly enough when his passion cools ". 3 
The intensity of his love may be measured with more 
certainty after than before possession; indeed, there 
are men who lose all interest in a woman directly they 
have possessed her. Rousseau exclaims: " Light-loving 
woman, do you wish to know whether you are loved? 
Study your lover as he leaves your arms ". 4 

The girl who loses her virginity easily loses her 
chance of marriage. And what is worse: her loss of 
virginity is a frequent cause of prostitution. 5 " The first 
coitus ", says Marro, " exercises a singular influence 
upon the morals of the woman "; a prostitute said to him, 
" When a door has once been broken in it is difficult 
to keep it closed ". 6 The Greek orator expressed a well- 
known fact in his remark that the moment a woman 
loses her chastity her mind is changed. 7 " To the 
man ", said Madame de Stael, " love is an episode in 
his life, to a woman it is life itself ". When a woman 
was reproached by a French magistrate for living with 

1 Moll, op. at. p. 396. 

2 Gina Lombroso, The Soul of Woman (London, 1924), p. 229. 

3 Crete Meisel-Hess, The Sexual Crisis (New York, 1917), p. 
52 sq. 4 Rousseau, La Nouvelle Hfloise y i. 55. 

5 Moll, op. at. p. 397; Ellis, op. cit. vi. 292; Forel, op. cit. p. 22; 
A. Marro, La Pubertd (Torino, 1900), p. 496. 

6 Marro, op. cit. p. 496. 

7 Lysias, quoted by L. Schmidt, Die Ethik der alien Griechen, i. 
(Berlin, 1882), p. 273. 


a thief, she exclaimed, " But when I am not in love I 
am nothing ".* 

There are other peculiarities of the sexual impulse in 
woman that deserve notice in the present connection. 
Opinions differ widely as to its average intensity. In 
the East women are said to be conspicuous for their 
sensuality; according to the sacred literature of the 
Hindus their sexual desires can as little be satisfied or fed 
full as a devouring fire can be fed full of combustible 
materials, or as the ocean can be overfilled by the rivers 
that pour their waters into it. 2 In all Greek love-stories 
of early date " the woman falls in love with the man, 
never, apparently, the reverse "; and " the Euripidean 
woman who ' falls in love ' thinks first of all, ' How can 
I seduce the man I love? ' " 3 Christian asceticism, as 
is well known, regarded woman as the symbol of sex. 
But since the last century it is a very prevalent opinion 
among sexologists that the sexual impulse is not so 
strongly developed in women as in men; 4 this, for 
instance, is the view of such authorities as Krafft- 
Ebing, 5 Moll, 6 O. Adler, 7 and Loewenfeld. 8 But others 

1 Ellis, op. cit. ' Analysis of the Sexual Impulse, etc. ' (Phila- 
delphia, 1903), p. 199. 

2 E. H. Kisch, The Sexual Life of Woman (London, s.d.) y p. 171. 

3 E. F. M. Benecke, Antimachus of Colophon and the Position of 
Women in Greek Poetry (London, 1896), pp. 34, 54. 

4 See writers quoted by Kisch, The Sexual Life of Woman , p. 171; 
by Ellis, op. cit. ' Analysis of the Sexual Impulse ', p. 157 sq.\ and by 
K. F. Friedlaender, Die Impotenz des Weibes (Leipzig, 1921), p. 9; 
and besides, W. J. Robinson, Sexual Problems of To-day (New York, 
1922), p. 66 sq.\ idem. Woman Her Sex and Love Life (New York, 
1923), p. 319 sq.\ E. F. Stephenson, quoted by Pirkner, * New 
Yorker Brief im Februar, 1928 ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft 
und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 62. 

5 R. v. Kraftt-EbmgyPsychopathiaSexualis (Stuttgart, 1903)^. 13. 

6 Moll, op. cit. p. 446. 

7 O. Adler, Die mange lhafte Geschlechtsempfindung des Weibes 
(Berlin, 1911), p. 125 sqq. 

8 L. Loewenfeld, On Conjugal Happiness (London, 1912), p. 168 

vii FREE LOVE 143 

maintain that the normal woman has as vigorous a sex 
appetite as the normal man, if not more so. 1 General 
comparisons relating to intensity, however, are difficult, 
because the sexual impulse shows greater variations in 
women both in the same woman on different occasions 
and in different women than in men. Among the latter 
it is very rarely altogether absent, whereas quite a large 
number of women possess so-called naturce frigidce^ 
and have no sensual inclination to sexual intercourse, 
to which they are either indifferent or in some cases 
strongly averse, even regarding it with horror; and their 
frigidity may persist also after their introduction to it. 
In a still greater proportion of women the sexual 
impulse never exceeds a certain minimal intensity. But 
in contrast with these women of frigid temperament 
there are others whose sexual passions may be so 
powerful that no man can satisfy their needs. 2 

While love occupies a much larger place in a woman's 
mind than in a man's, the purely sensual element is 
normally less marked than the spiritual side. 3 The 
sexual impulse is often satisfied by the sensations of 
touch from mutual contact of portions of the body, by 
the writing and receiving of affectionate letters, by the 

1 Bloch, op. cit. p. 83 sq.} C. G. Beale, Wise Wedlock (London, 
[1922]), p. 51; Norman Haire, Hymen or the Future of Marriage 
(London, 1928), p. 41; Johanna Elberskirchen, quoted by Adler, 
op. cit. p. 133; H. Rohleder, Die libidinosen Funktionsstorungen der 
Zeugung bcim Weibe (Leipzig, 1914), p. 13; Friedlaender, op. cit. 
p. 13. See also writers quoted ibid. p. 6; and by Ellis, op. cit. 
' Analysis of the Sexual Impulse ', p. 160 sqq. Ellis himself (ibid. 
p. 203) thinks " we may fairly hold that roughly speaking, the dis- 
tribution of the sexual impulse between the two sexes is fairly 
balanced ". 

2 Ibid. p. 162 sqq.} Kisch, The Sexual Life of Woman, p. 172 sqq.} 
Adler, op. cit. passim} A. Forel, Die Sexuelle Frage (Miinchen, 1931), 
p. 125. 

3 Cf. W. Liepmann, Psychologic der Frau (Berlin & Wien, 1920), 
pp. 160, 165, 1 66, 171 sq.} Forel, Die Sexuelle Frage, p. 121; Loe- 
wenfeld, op. cit. p. 168 sq. 


play of imagination and illusion, and may even find 
more satisfaction in mere caresses than in actual coitus. 
The desire for the latter tends to awaken considerably 
later in women than in men, as long as they remain free 
from all experience of sexual stimulation. A woman's 
love is mingled with devotion and respect. She desires 
to gratify the man she loves; she may forego sensual 
enjoyments rather than the satisfaction of her ideal 
love; she may even consider sexual intercourse im- 
portant not so much because it gives her pleasure as 
because she sees in it the expression of the affection 
which her husband has for her. I shall quote some 
statements made by female writers as to the differences 
between men's love and that of their own sex. 

Ellen Key writes: " Women never take sufficient 
account of sensuousness, nor men of spirituality. ... It 
is no doubt true that woman also wishes to be made 
happy by man through her senses. But while this 
longing in her not unfrequently awakes long after she 
already loves a man so that she could give her life for 
him, with man the desire to possess a woman often 
awakes before he even loves her enough to give his 
little finger for her. That with women love usually 
proceeds from the soul to the senses and sometimes 
does not reach so far; that with men it usually proceeds 
from the senses to the soul and sometimes never com- 
pletes the journey this is for both the most painful 
of the existing distinctions between man and woman 'V 
Hedwig Wega says that while a man can take a fancy to 
a woman for whom he entertains mere sensual feelings, 
a woman with normal emotions cannot give herself up 
to a man unless she respects him. 2 Gina Lombroso 
gives the following analysis of the love of man and 

1 Ellen Key, op. cit. p. 97 sqq. 

2 Hedwig Wega, ' Uber Ehe, freie Liebe und Freundschaft 
zwischen Mann und Weib ', in Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft> vi. 
(Bonn, 1919-1920), p. 67. 

vii FREE LOVE 145 

woman: " For man, love is an essentially selfish, 
sensual and passionate attraction, to which is added 
the pleasure of conquest and the pride of ownership ". 
For woman, " love is the attraction she feels for some 
one whom she esteems above herself, with whom and 
for whom she may exercise her activity and her altruism. 
For her, love gives the opportunity to care for and 
minister to him who has chosen her. Consequently, 
her ardour will be in close relation to the esteem and 
admiration that she has for the man she loves, for this 
esteem will render the choice of which she has been the 
object all the more flattering. A woman cannot love a 
person whom she does not esteem. . . . The fact that in 
woman love is intimately allied to esteem and admira- 
tion explains why the highest aspiration of feminine 
love is for the moral and intellectual sympathy to 
which man is almost indifferent ". l Of the female 
students at the University of Moscow who answered 
questionnaires submitted to them a few years before 
the war, 279 declared that they esteemed a man chiefly 
for his mental qualities, and only 60 that they did so for 
his physical ones; and a still smaller number attri- 
buted to sexual intercourse the dominant role in love. 2 
Among 1267 male and female students belonging to 
various institutions in Kharkov in 1926, who lived in 
durable sex relations, 23-4 per cent, of the men and 
only 1-9 per cent, of the women valued the physical 
qualities of their partners more highly than the psy- 
chical ones. 3 

In the present connection it is of particular import- 
ance to notice that in a very large number of young 
women there is no direct desire for coitus until such a 

1 Gina Lombroso, op. cit. pp. 195, 199 sq. 

2 S. Weissenberg, * Das Geschlechtsleben der russischen Stuclen- 
tinncn ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft, xi. (Bonn, 1924), p. 1 1. 

3 Z. A. Gurewitsch and F. J. Grosser, ' Das Geschlechtsleben der 
Gegemvart ', ibid. xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 545 sq. 



desire is aroused by a man. 1 But when once aroused it 
is impossible to foresee the limit it will reach. These 
are facts that greatly increase the responsibility for 
seducing a virgin and abandoning her. 

It will perhaps be argued that if pre-nuptial free- 
dom were granted to girls by public opinion, the chief 
dangers now attending it would disappear, and that the 
wheel of evolution actually moves in that direction. 
After all, it is said, the insistence upon the intact 
virginity of the wife is a demand made by an epicure 
who finds in the virgin an especially piquant morsel. 
" Among the working classes and the greater part of the 
men of our agricultural population", says Loewenfeld, 
" virginity is hardly expected in their mate. The know- 
ledge that the loved one or the fiancee has already had 
intimate relations with another man does not reduce her 
value to any extent; and even the presence of a child the 
wife brings with her on marriage very often does not 
affect unfavourably the character of the marital life if 
the husband happen to be a good-natured sort of fellow. 
In the socially higher classes and the cultured strata, 
on the other hand, the men are still completely domin- 
ated by the dogma of the sexual honour of the woman, 
although this dogma leads in part to consequences that 
could not be admitted before the forum of a higher 
and purer ethical standard ". 2 But among the upper 
classes, also, many men have no objection to marrying 
divorced women or widows. Does not this prove 
that their demand of bridal virginity in other cases is 

1 Ellis, op. at. ' Analysis of the Sexual Impulse ', pp. 190, 203; 
Kisch, Die sexuelle Untreue der Frau, i. 76; Erb, quoted by Kisch, 
The Sexual Life of Woman, p. 172 sq.\ Adler, op. cit. pp. 128, 181; 
H. Keyserling, The Book of Marriage (New York, 1926), p. 39; 
Liepmann, op. cit. pp. 161, 172, 174; Forel, Die Sexuelle Frage, p. 
1 20 sq.\ Hedwig Wega, in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft y vi. 64. 
Adler (op. cit. p. 129) and Kisch (Die sexuelle Untreue der Frau, i. 82) 
observe that nightly pollutions do not occur in " pure " virgins. 

2 Loewenfeld, op. cit. p. 141. 

vii FREE LOVE 147 

due to convention rather than to genuine feeling? 

Arguments like these fail to take notice of two im- 
portant facts. One is the close association which exists 
in a refined mind between the sensual and the spiritual 
elements in sexual love, and the other fact is the 
particular prominence that distinguishes the spiritual 
element in feminine love of a higher type. Widows 
and divorced wives are not on a par with girls who 
sow their wild oats, which the advocates of " the new 
morality " admit them to do; the demand of virginity 
in a bride may be abandoned by a cultured man, when 
the lack of it is not inconsistent with that refinement of 
love which he expects in a woman who is to become his 
wife. He may himself indulge in the coarser forms 
of love, and at the same time despise a woman who 
does so. Professor Blonsky, in speaking of women in 
Moscow who form numerous relationships with men, 
either successively or simultaneously, points out that 
intelligent men who have intercourse with such 
women as a convenient means of gratifying their sexual 
needs hold them in contempt and treat them with great 
brutality. 1 It is argued that the tendency to rational- 
isation in the new morality will lead to a devaluation of 
virginity in the judgment of the man and in the life 
of the woman; 2 but I believe that the double standard 
of pre-nuptial freedom, though it may be modified by 
reasoning and even lose its character of a moral question, 
is too deeply rooted in man's emotional appreciation of 
virgin chastity, to allow the problem to be solved in a 
purely intellectual fashion. At the same time the 
union of a man and a woman who, tied together by 

1 P. Petrowitsch Blonsky, * Zur Psychologic der monandrischen 
und der polyandrischen Frau in der modernen Kultur ', in Zeitschrift 
fur Sexualwissemchaft und Sexualpolitik, xvii. (Berlin & Koln, 1930), 
p. 10 sq. 

2 H. Sellheim, ' Was muss der Arzt von der Regulierung der 
Fortpflanzung wissen? ' ibid, xviii. (1931), p. 347. 


genuine love implying mutual affection, decide to live 
together as husband and wife though not joined in 
legal wedlock, is not equivalent to other, coarser, kinds 
of sexual relationships; and I believe that the time 
may not be far off when the only objection which 
public opinion perhaps has to raise to such a union is 
that the official registration of it may be of some social 

But even if public opinion would, in the future, 
grant complete sexual freedom to the unmarried of 
either sex, the indulgence in it by girls would still be 
attendant with serious disadvantages, already pointed 
out. There would undoubtedly be exploitation of 
women by men: girls who remained virgins would still 
be preferred as wives, and the others would run the 
risk of being used only for temporary purposes. 
Feminists advocating equal freedom for men and 
women seem to overlook the benefits that the men 
would derive from it: they would find it far easier to 
gratify their desires in a more agreeable manner than 
through intercourse with prostitutes, and at the same 
time to acquire sexual experience considered useful for 
their future marriage. When speaking of " the in- 
justice " of different moral demands on man and 
woman, those advocates also fail to notice that this 
difference is ultimately due to a difference in the sexual 
instincts of the two sexes. 

A female writer asserts that every woman, as well as 
every man, wishes to possess the other party not only 
solely, but also as the first, although only the man 
could enforce his wish. 1 This is certainly not correct. 
Women who demand purity in men do not do so on 
account of an instinct inherent in their sex. Dr. 
Ellis observes that women are not attracted to virginal 
innocence in men, and that they frequently have good 

1 Leonie Ungern-Sternberg, * The Marriage of the Future ', in 
Keyserling, op. cit. p. 268. 

vii FREE LOVE 149 

ground for viewing such innocence with suspicion. 1 
According to Freud, they divine that complete ab- 
stinence during youth often enough is not the best 
preparation for marriage in a young man, and " prefer 
those of their wooers who have already proved them- 
selves to be men with other women ". 2 Sofie Lazars- 
feld thinks they are usually only afraid that the man 
may renew some old affair. 3 Michels says that while 
there is a category of girls who give no thought at all to 
the sexual past of their future husbands, and a very 
small minority who wish it to have been on the same 
plane as their own, " at the present day, the majority 
of girls entering upon marriage regard previous sexual 
experience on the part of their husbands as a necessity, 
as a matter beyond discussion ". 4 Juan Valera writes 
in his novel Dona Luz: " It pleases a woman and in- 
creases her affection for him to know that her husband 
has had some former love affair. And this is no 
matter how modest or how jealously inclined she may 
be. The qualities that do most honour to a woman are 
modesty and decorum, those that do most honour to a 
man, intelligence and courage. Hence it results that 
even the most pious and modest young girl far from 
being displeased with her future husband if she chances 
to discover that he has been * fortunate ' with the fair 
sex, will love him for this more exclusively and passion- 
ately than ever. She sees in this ' good fortune ' a 
proof of the merit of the man who has been thus 
favoured by other women; the value of his affection 
for herself is thereby enhanced, since he has preferred 
her to so many others whose affection he might have 

1 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 413. 

2 S. Freud, * Die " kulturelle " Sexualmoral und die moderne 
Perversitat ', in Gesammelte Schriften, v, (Leipzig, Wien, Zurich, 
1924), p. 160. 

3 Sofie Lazarsfeld, Rhythm of Life (London, 1934), p. 262. 

4 Michels, Sexual Ethics, p. 141 sqq. 


won or has won; and it almost seems as if there was 
conferred upon her a high moral mission, flattering 
alike to her vanity and her piety, namely, to render her 
lover by virtue of her superior and purer attractions 
constant to one object, and to convert him from a gay 
gallant, dangerous to the peace of her sex, into an in- 
offensive, tranquil, and sensible head of a family. . . . 
To have been fortunate in love is and always has been 
one of the most powerful means at a man's disposal of 
winning the love of other women. And this from the 
heroic and primitive age down to our own times ". 
Something of this took place in the heart of Dona Luz, 
who knew that Don Jaime had been adored in Madrid, 
and seeing him now so enamoured, so devoted, so 
humble, her heart swelled with pride and joy at the 
conviction that she was loved a thousand times more 
dearly than any of her former rivals had been. 1 

To sum up the gist of this lengthy discussion: how- 
ever desirable it may be for a man to receive sex experi- 
ence from a woman belonging to his own class as a 
prelude to his marriage, the acquisition of it is attended 
with such risks for the woman that he must consider 
whether he has a right to utilise her as a means of pre- 
paring him for his marriage with another woman. 

1 J. Valera, Dona Luz (New York, 1891), p. 218 sqq. 



IN the preceding chapters I have endeavoured to show 
that the unhappiness which nowadays so frequently 
embitters married life may be to some extent relieved. 
Yet there will always remain a sufficient amount of it 
to justify the question whether marriage is likely to 
survive indefinitely. 

The divorce-rate, which is the most convincing 
evidence of the quantity of unhappiness found among 
the married, is looked upon as an alarming omen. 
Among the countries of Western civilisation it is highest 
in the United States, with the probable exception of 
European Russia; in the former country the ratio of 
divorces to marriages is one to six, 1 while in the latter 
it was, in 1926, 1-6 to ten, unregistered marriages and 
divorces not included. 2 In recent years there has been 
an increase in the proportion of marriages that terminate 
in divorce, both in the United States and in Europe, 
where the divorce-rate is considerably lower. 3 It is 

1 J. P. Lichtenberger, Divorce: A Social Interpretation (New 
York & London, 1931), p. 422. 

2 M. Hindus, Humanity Uprooted (London, etc., 1929), p. 144. 

3 Annuaire international de statistique public par V office permanent 
de Vlnstitut international de statistique (La Haye), 1920, iv. * Mouve- 
ment de la population (Amerique) ', p. 21 sq.\ ibid. 1917, ii. * Mouve- 
ment de la population (Europe) ', p. 30 sq.\ R. Michels, Sittlichkeit 
in Ziffern? (Miinchen & Leipzig, 1928), pp. 118, 119, 122 sq. In the 
United States the divorce-rate has multiplied fivefold from the 
period just following the Civil War to the present day, and its in- 
crease has been comparatively uniform for over six decades (A. 


of course quite possible that it will go on increasing 
in the future; but we are not forced to the conclusion 
that its present trend is destined to continue inde- 
finitely. American students of the subject point out 
that the period of the rapid rise of the divorce-rate has 
been one of correspondingly rapid social changes, 
during which the institution of marriage has been 
undergoing a transition; 1 among these is the economic 
emancipation of women, which is held to be largely 
responsible for the fact that at present as many as 71 per 
cent, of all divorces are granted on demand of the wife. 2 
" Many old restraints ", says Professor Lichtenberger, 
" have been and are still being removed and new ideals 
are in the process of formation. Before these vanishing 
restraints have been replaced by internal regulative 
controls some disintegration is sure to occur, but in the 
end, a new adjustment will tend to be established and 
marriages should be much improved by the change ", 3 
At all events, increasing divorce-rates do not spell 
ruin to marriage. Far from being its enemy, divorce 
is rather its saviour. However painful it may be, it is 
after all the remedy for a misfortune, and a means of 
preserving the dignity of marriage by putting an end to 
unions that are a disgrace to its name. Sometimes it 
corrects mistakes made by persons who ought never to 
have married at all; but more often the mistake consisted 
in an unfortunate choice of partner, and a second marriage 
may then lead to a satisfaction and happiness such 
as the first one lacked. In England almost 60 per cent, 
of divorcees remarry, 4 in the United States, according 

Cahen, Statistical Analysis of American Divorce [New York, 1932], 
p. 138). 

1 Cahen, op. cit. pp. 128, 142; J. K. Folsom, The Family (New 
York & London, 1934), p. 376. 

2 Cahen, op. cit. p. 60. 

3 Lichtenberger, op. cit. p. 426 sqq. 

4 D. V. Glass, ' Divorce in England and Wales ', in The Socio- 
logical Review, xxvi. (London, 1934), p. 306 n. i. 


to a rough estimate, about 50 per cent. 1 Most of those 
persons, belonging to the group studied by Dickinson 
and Beam, who bitterly complained of marital unhappi- 
ness, wished to remarry. 2 We know that many divorce 
suits are initiated purely because one or both of the 
partners wish to marry someone else; and in all cases 
may we assume that those who remarry have not lost 
their faith in marriage, but hope for better luck next 

While the divorce-rate has increased, the marriage- 
rate has, in recent times, decreased and the age at 
which people marry has risen in various European 
countries. In England and Wales the annual number 
of marriages per 10,000 marriageable persons was, in 
1876-1885, 568; in 1886-1895, 529; in 1896-1905, 531; 
in 1907-1914, 507. The average age of bachelor- 
bridegrooms and of spinster-brides was, in 1876-1885, 
25-9 and 24-4 respectively; in 1886-1895, 26-4 and 24*9; 
in 1896-1905, 26-8 and 25-3; in 1906-1910, 27-2 and 
25 -6. 3 Since the war, though the fall of births con- 
tinues, the trend of marriage looks like being upwards, 
but this trend is not marked and may be due to changes 
of age constitution. In the war and just after, the age 
of marriage went up and down erratically; but from 
1922 onwards it has been falling steadily for men and 
falling also, though less markedly, for women. To-day, 
in England, both men and women are marrying earlier 
than they did just before the war; but whether this 
lower age of marriage is a consequence of the war or 
would have come in any case requires, as Sir William 
Beveridge says, further inquiry. 4 In the United States 

1 Folsom, op. cit. p. 381. 

2 R. L. Dickinson and L. Beam, A Thousand Marriages (London, 
1932), p. 388. 

3 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, i. (London, 
1921), p. 389 sq. 

4 W. Beveridge and Others, Changes in Family Life (London, 
J 932) PP. 4 6 > 33 sq. 


the trend of marriage differs from that in various 
European countries. Statistics show a steady increase 
of the number of marriages in proportion to the popula- 
tion at every census decade since 1890, and at the same 
time the age of marriage has become lower. The 
percentages of married men and women of the popula- 
tion fifteen years of age or over were, in 1890, 53-9 and 
56-8 respectively; in 1900, 54-5 and 57-0; in 1910, 55-8 
and 58-9; in 1920, 59*2 and 60-6; x in 1930, 60-0 and 
6i-i. 2 What the future may reveal is of course prob- 
lematic; but certain facts are suggestive. A very 
important cause of the decline of the marriage-rate and 
the rise of the age of marriage in Europe has been the 
difficulty of supporting a family in modern society; 
the spread of the knowledge of contraceptives should 
therefore have a tendency to increase the former and 
to reduce the latter. The divorce laws of Christian 
countries are also, presumably, responsible for the celi- 
bacy of a certain number of people; we may suppose that 
if marriage could be more easily dissolved it would be 
more readily entered into. And I think there is every 
reason to believe that the liberalisation of the grounds 
of divorce which already has taken place in some 
countries will gradually spread to all; and that in 
consequence divorce may become much less expensive 
than it is now. 3 

While the knowledge of contraceptives may increase 
the marriage-rate, it also facilitates extra-matrimonial 
intercourse, the great frequency of which in our days is 
regarded as another indication of the doom of marriage. 
Mr. Calverton says that the bankruptcy of marriage in 
Germany is attested by the growth of illegitimacy in 
both city and province, one out of every twelve babies, 

1 H. Fehlinger, * Amerikanische Ehestandsstatistik ', in Zeit- 
schrift fur Sexualwissenschaft, xii. (Bonn, 1926), p. 382. 

2 Lichtenberger, op. cit. p. 424. 

3 See infra, Ch. X. 


that is, 8-6 per cent., being born outside marriage. 1 It 
is interesting to compare with this the prevalence of 
illegitimacy in England in the reign of Edward III, 
when at least 9 per cent, of the villeins of one 
manor were known to be bastards which was not an 
exception to the situation at most English manors but 
an indication of it and bastardy was common among 
the nobles and gentry also. 2 In spite of this, marriage 
still survives in England, after so many centuries. It 
is said that marriage is rapidly coming to lose sexual 
significance for women as well as men, because the 
sexual impulse can be satisfied outside of it and without 
many of the impediments which the marital life enforces 
upon husband and wife; that marriage has become 
more and more meaningless, and has continued only as 
a form or fiction, " as a genuflection to convention, and 
a convenience to escape social embarrassments and 
stigmas ". 3 But the " meaning " of marriage embraces 
much more than the gratification of the sexual impulse; 
and purely sexual relations can never serve as substitutes 
for those more comprehensive relations between men 
and women which, under the name of marriage, con- 
stitute a social institution of great importance. The 
former will, of course, always exist side by side with 
marriage, but cannot replace it. 

In my theory of the origin of marriage I have 
expressed the view that, like the sexual impulse, the 
other essential elements in marriage have a deep founda- 
tion in human and even pre-human instincts. Com- 
bined with that impulse, there must from the beginning 
have been some degree of attachment which kept the 
individuals of different sex together till after the birth 
of the offspring. This was the germ of that unity and 

1 V. F. Calverton, The Bankruptcy of Marriage (London, 1931), 
p. 193. 

2 G. May, Social Control of Sex Expression (London, 1930), p. 109. 

3 Calverton, op. cit. p. 121 sq. 


intermingling of the spiritual and the sensual elements 
in sexual love which characterises the normal relations 
between husband and wife among ourselves. It has 
led to a more or less durable community of life in a 
common home, to which the promiscuous gratification 
of the sexual impulse affords no equivalent. The sug- 
gestion has been made that the home as we now know it 
may cease to exist and be replaced by " a group of 
persons consisting of a small number of adults and a 
somewhat larger but still small number of children 
living together in permanent association, the adults 
presiding over the upbringing of the children, but not 
being necessarily connected with these by ties of 
blood "i 1 According to Dr. Borgius, sexual relation- 
ships and common housekeeping have been jumbled 
together, because marriage is a late survival of the 
ancient clan system, but this is a most unsuitable 
arrangement, since there are innumerable wives who 
have no talents for housewifery. The household of the 
future will be an association of friends, male and female 
of different ages, whose sexual relations, inside or 
outside the household, will concern nobody else; and 
the children will remain with their mothers until they 
find it more attractive to go and stay with their school- 
and playfellows. 2 Schemes of this sort would certainly 
remove the solitariness of a single life only brightened 
by fugitive sex relations; but why should an association 
of several men and women be more harmonious than 
the union of one man and one woman? There would 
be no individual sexual rights and duties in that 
association, and jealousy would of course be strictly 
interdicted. But what reason is there to think that the 
torturers and the martyrs in marriage would suddenly 
become transformed into saints? 

1 Eden Paul, Chronos or the Future of the Family (London, 1930), 


2 W. Borgius, * Ehereform? ' in Ze itschrift fur Scxualwissenschaft 
und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), pp. 387, 392, 402. 


The chief attacks on marriage have been concerned 
with it as an institution for procreation and the rearing 
of children. It has been argued that as such it is not 
needful and even positively harmful. Those attacks 
were initiated by Plato, who suggested that wives and 
children should be in common, and no parent should 
know his own child nor any child his parent. The 
offspring of worthy persons should be carried by the 
proper officers to certain nurses dwelling in a separate 
quarter of the city, whereas the offspring of the more 
depraved and such children as were deformed should 
be put away in some mysterious, unknown place. 1 
Plato's notion on the community of wives and children 
was severely handled by Aristotle, who argued that 
community of wives is attended with many difficulties, 
and that the tie of friendship, which more than any- 
thing else prevents seditions, must be extremely weak 
in a city where no father can say " this is my son ", and 
no son " this is my father ". 2 

Plato's suggestions relating to wives and children 
were closely connected with his wish to abolish private 
property as a measure conducive to civil concord and 
national prosperity. Similar tendencies are found 
among modern socialists, such as Fourier and Enfantin, 
even when they do not mean by free love indiscriminate 
love, nor by collective responsibility for the family 
having wives in common or taking children away from 
their parents. More recently, however, the socialists, 
who at one time were singing paeans in favour of free 
love, have taken up a more conciliatory attitude to- 
wards marriage, chiefly insisting on easier divorce and a 
reorganisation of the family. 3 Mr. Wells writes in his 
Autobiography: " Socialism, if it is anything more than 

1 Plato, Respublica, v. 457, 460 sqq. Cf. idem, Leges, v. 739. 

2 Aristotle, Politico,, ii. 1261 a, 1262 b. 

3 K. Diehl, Uber Sozialismus, Kommunismus und Anarchismus 
(Jena, 1920), p. 162 sqq.\ R. Michels, Sexual Ethics (London & 
Felling-on-Tyne, 1914), p. 190 sqq. 


a petty tinkering with economic relationships, is a re- 
nucleation of society. The family can remain only as 
a biological fact. Its economic and educational auto- 
nomy are inevitably doomed. The modern state is 
bound to be the ultimate guardian of all children and it 
must assist, replace, or subordinate the parent as sup- 
porter, guardian and educator; it must release all 
human beings from the obligation of mutual proprietor- 
ship, and it must refuse absolutely to recognise or 
enforce any kind of sexual ownership ' V 

The status of children in the family has changed 
profoundly in the course of evolution. The father's 
power over his children reached its height in the 
countries of archaic civilisation, but has in Europe 
gradually yielded to a system under which he has been 
divested of the most essential rights he formerly 
possessed over them a system the inmost drift of 
which is expressed in the words of the French En- 
cyclopedist, " Le pouvoir paternel est plutot un devoir 
qu'un pouvoir ", and which in recent times has led to 
a continually increasing interference of the State on 
behalf of the child. He is protected from economic 
exploitation and ill-treatment at the hands of his 
parents. If necessitous he is fed. His health is cared 
for. He has to be given a minimum of education. 
There is every reason to believe that the State will 
assume such care of children in an increasing measure, 
and that the relations of parents to children will be 
watched and controlled by it much more strictly than 
they are at present. But this does not imply that the 
time will come when, as has been suggested, 2 children 
are cared for altogether, educated, and supported by 
the State, from funds provided by the taxation of all 

1 H. G. Wells, Experiment in Autobiography , ii. (London, 1934), 
p. 481. 

2 Norman Haire, Hymen or the Future of Marriage (London, 
1928), p. 62; R. De Pomerai, Marriage Past Present and Future 
(London, 1930), pp. 312, 305. 


citizens, the State thus assuming nearly all the func- 
tions of parenthood. I cannot believe that such an 
arrangement would benefit either the child or the 
State, or satisfy the normal father and mother. 

Others are of a different opinion. " One sometimes 
wonders ", says Dr. Norman Haire, " whether the 
average parents are not the least fit persons in the world 
to bring up their own child 'V According to Judge 
Lindsey, even among people of good stock, " homes in 
which children can find the right spiritual and intel- 
lectual atmosphere are the exception rather than the 
rule ". 2 Mr. De Pomerai remarks that this truth 
applies to England as well as to America: " We have 
to realise the fact . . . that scarcely one parent in a 
thousand is really capable of efficiently rearing and 
training a child, and that the average child is happier 
and far better off in a nursery school or properly 
organised educational institution than it is in its own 
home. ... If private homes have been responsible 
for a gigantic crop of physical defects, they have been 
responsible for an even greater harvest of warped 
personalities, suppressed abilities, and unnecessary 
antagonisms ". 3 

In direct contrast with this view one of the most 
comprehensive American studies of child life in recent 
years concludes its findings on the institutional child 
with the observation: " Institutional care for the most 
part has produced uninspired individuals poorly ad- 
justed to the outside world ". 4 Dr. Nimkoff writes: 
" We can show that normal family life is indispensable 
to the proper development of the child's personality. 

1 Haire, op. cit. p. 67. 

2 B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans, The Revolt of Modern 
Youth (London, etc., 1928), p. 95. 

3 De Pomerai, op. cit. pp. 307, 311, 305. 

4 White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, 1930, 
Century (New York, 1931), p. 134, quoted by M. F. NimkofT, The 
Child (Chicago & Philadelphia, 1934), p. 148. 


First, we need only to observe the advantages enjoyed 
by children who come out of any sort of home at all 
over those less privileged children who have been 
reared in institutions. . . . Second, the power of the 
home is apparent in the finding of modern science that 
the best treatment for maladjusted children of normal 
intelligence consists of their placement in desirable 
foster homes. A good home is the best medicine we 
can prescribe for a socially sick child ". l Professor 
Folsom observes that there is a pronounced trend in 
America " away from the children's institution and 
toward placement in foster homes as a method of caring 
for orphaned children and children whose own parents 
are unfit or unable to care for them. It is urged that 
foster-home care is not only cheaper for the State, but 
also far better for the development of the child. Ex- 
perience everywhere seems to indicate the superiority 
of the small home, even if it be a foster home, to the 
larger institution ". 2 Floyd Dell writes: " Institu- 
tional life at its best has been notoriously drab and 
barren in comparison with ordinary family life. In- 
stitutional life has been found to fail in developing 
individual powers, and in furnishing incentives for 
growing up. It has characteristically turned out 
spiritless creatures, who do not know how to get along 
in the outside world. . . . The best modern institutions 
for children now model themselves upon the parental 
home, and try to give what it should give. . . . Even at 
their best, however, these institutions, when they re- 
place the private home entirely, are regarded as make- 
shifts, as poor substitutes for a real home with real 
parents. And real homes and real parents are known to 
be so important to the child's development that it is 
more and more the practice that only as a last resort are 
homes broken up and children taken from their parents. 

1 Nimkoff, op. cit. p. 147 sq. 

2 Folsom, op. cit. p. 502. 


Homes have to be very definitely found to be demoral- 
ising to the children, parents have to be given up as 
hopelessly incapable of improvement, before the best 
modern practice countenances such an extreme measure 
as destruction of the family union >> . 1 Foremost of the 
special types of relief aiming to conserve the family is 
in the United States the so-called " mother's aid " or 
" mother's pensions ", which provide for the payment 
of a sum of money to certain groups of mothers with 
dependent children in order to enable the mother to 
remain at home with her family, instead of putting 
children of indigent parents into institutions. 2 Dr. 
W. J. Robinson goes so far as to say that " to give the 
child to a foundling asylum or to a * baby farm ' means 
generally to condemn it to a slow death ". 3 According 
to Havelock Ellis, the mortality of artificially fed infants 
during the first year of life is seldom less than double, 
and sometimes as much as three times, that of the 
breast fed, or even more. He also points out that the 
advantages for an infant of being suckled by its mother 
are greater than can be accounted for by the mere fact 
of being suckled rather than hand fed, because the 
infant's best food is that elaborated in his mother's 
body. This has been shown by Vitrey, 4 who found 
from the statistics of the Hotel-Dieu at Lyons that 
infants suckled by their mothers have a mortality of 
only 12 per cent., while in the case of infants suckled by 
strangers the mortality rises to 33 per cent. 5 

From Germany and Austria we also hear that ex- 
ceptionally great infant mortality and other disadvan- 
tages are incident to life in an orphan asylum compared 

1 Floyd Dell, Love in the Machine Age (London, 1930), p. 119. 

2 M. F. Nimkoff, The Family (Cambridge, Mass., 1934), p. 4j6sq. 

3 W. J. Robinson, Woman Her Sex and Love Life (New York, 
1923), p. 268. 

4 Vitrey, De la mortalitd infantile, These de Lyon, 1907. 

5 H. Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. (Philadelphia, 
1923), p. 26 sq. 



to ordinary family life; 1 investigations carried out in 
two such asylums at Wiirzburg, for instance, showed 
that the mental development of the children was 
abnormally backward. 2 Very interesting information 
comes from Soviet Russia, where the State has over- 
taken the functions of the home to a larger extent than 
in any other country. Great benefits were expected 
from the establishment of numerous State nurseries. 
Mr. Hindus writes: " In the nursery, the Russians 
protest, the child will get not less but more and better 
protection than any but the very rich homes could 
possibly offer. It will be fed, bathed, clothed in 
accord with the latest discoveries of science. In time 
of illness it will receive the immediate attention of a 
child specialist. It will not be pampered. It will not 
be abused. It will not be suppressed. Above all it 
will be kept from contact with vices, especially alcohol- 
ism, which now so brutally debauch the masses .... 
When Russia at some future date grows prosperous, 
homes will be provided for all children whose parents 
would care to place them there ". 3 Yet, though it was 
expected that the State institutions would demonstrate 
the superiority of scientific care to maternal ignorance, 
the statistics of infant mortality in the institutions were 
discouraging and another method was tried. Dr. 
Lebedeva, head of the department for the protection 
of motherhood and infancy, has made the following 
statement: " If we had better equipment, better trained 

1 Hermine Hug-Hellmuth, * Die Bedeutung der Familie fur das 
Schicksal des Einzelnen ', in Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft, ix. 
(Bonn, 1923), p. 328 sq.\ L. D. Pesl, * Fruchtabtreibung und 
Findelhaus ', ibid. xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 321 sq.\ * Vaterlose 
Kindheit ', ibid. xvi. (Berlin & Koln, 1929), p. 148. 

2 M. Marcuse, * Eugenische Tagung zu Berlin, 26. -28. Oktober. 
1928 ', ibid. xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 416 sq. 

3 M. Hindus, Humanity Uprooted (London, etc., 1929), pp. in, 
1 1 2, 94. Cf. Alice Withrow Field, Protection of Women and Children 
in Soviet Russia (London, 1932), p. 28. 


personnel in our institutions, it might have been different. 
But under our present conditions there is no doubt that 
the home offers a more stimulating environment for the 
development of the infant than the asylum. Not only 
have we decreased the death rate in this way, but we 
have insured normal development to a much larger 
proportion of babies, since in almost every case our 
asylum-trained babies were both mentally and physic- 
ally backward ". The method that proved to be the 
best with orphans was putting them into carefully 
selected private family homes, with the result that twice 
as many of them remained alive. 1 

Present conditions in Russia demonstrate how in- 
jurious the lack of family influence is not only to 
orphans but also to older children. Mr. Cummings 
wrote in 1935: " It is a grave fact that in the last two 
years child delinquency has enormously increased in all 
parts of Russia. So much so that a few weeks ago 
when I was still on tour in the country a surprising 
decree was issued from Moscow which announced that 
in future child delinquents would be subject to the 
same penalties as those imposed upon adult criminals. 
. . . Why has this delinquency and ill-discipline among 
children developed so dangerously? I believe it is due, 
above all, to the fact that millions of homes are de- 
serted for a greater part of each day by both parents so 
that the children are left to fend for themselves without 
parental guidance and discipline". 2 

Many facts thus support the general belief that there 
is no adequate substitute for the beneficial influence 
which parents as a rule exercise upon their children, 
that the love of the parents towards the child is one of 
the most essential features if the child's moral and 
emotional development is to proceed harmoniously. In 
these circumstances I can find no reason to suppose 

1 Lebedeva, quoted by Dell, op. cit. p. 121. 
2 A. J. Cummings, in News Chronicle, May 29, 1935. 


that it could be in the interests of the State in the future 
to break up the family. The Bolsheviks' suspicious 
attitude towards it is due to their view that private 
property has always served as a cementing bond in the 
family; and to demolish private property is the object 
of the most feverish efforts of the new society. It is 
considered to be of great importance that the mentality 
of the Russian youth should be largely moulded by 
agencies outside the home, away from the family circle; 
in the kindergartens and schools it is always made to 
feel that the supreme aim in life is the promotion of the 
purposes of the new society. Yet, though the rulers of 
Russia regard the family as a menace to their ultimate 
designs, they find it at the present stage of readjustment 
indispensable to the maintenance of social stability. 1 
But they have obviously underrated its vitality. The 
persistence of the family does not depend upon the 
preservation of private property. Its safest guarantee 
is the love of man and woman for each other and for 
their children; and the Bolsheviks are even said to 
assure themselves that this bond will gain in firmness 
when property has passed from private to social control. 2 
The feelings of parents would naturally make them 
averse to any attempt to separate their children from 
them. The mother would not be compensated for the 
loss of her own baby by being used as a nurse for 
somebody else's baby. Herbert Spencer thought that 
maternal love is not adequately defined as the instinct 
which attaches a creature to its own young, since it is 
not exclusively displayed in that relation: he identified 
it with the love of the helpless, stimulated by the 
perception of " smallness joined, usually, with relative 
inactivity, being the chief indications of incapacity ". 3 

1 Hindus, op. cit. pp. 101, 102, 109. 2 Ibid. p. 143. 

3 H. Spencer, The Principles of Psychology, ii. (London, 1890), 
p. 623 sq. See also D. Hartley, Observations on Man y i. (London, 
1810), p. 497. 


That maternal love is to some extent love of the helpless 
is obvious from the fact that it originally lasts only as 
long as the young are unable to shift for themselves. 
But Spencer's theory fails to explain how it is that, even 
in a gregarious species, mothers make a distinction 
between their offspring and other young. During 
my stay among the peasants of Morocco I was struck 
by the eagerness with which in the evening, when the 
flocks of ewes and lambs were reunited, each mother 
sought for her own lamb and many a lamb, at least, for 
her mother; and the same can be testified by every 
shepherd. Mr. J. Corin writes: " Mix the ewes and 
the lambs as one will, and they sort themselves. The 
lamb does not always know its mother, but the ewe 
knows her lamb by smell. If the wrong lamb comes 
to her, she savagely butts it away. The unwillingness 
of a ewe to suckle a strange lamb is the great trouble of 
shepherds. When a mother has lost her lamb, and the 
shepherd wishes to make her adopt another, to save 
her from trouble with milk-congestion, and to relieve 
another ewe burdened with twins, he has very great 
difficulty. Often he has to resort to the practice of 
skinning the dead lamb and wrapping its skin round the 
one to be adopted. Even then he may be unable to 
deceive the mother perhaps he would not do so in any 
case, did not milk-pains compel her. At this not 
unusual country practice I have assisted shepherds in 
my young days 'V A similar discrimination between 
an animal's own young ones and other young has been 
found even in cases of conscious adoption. On the 
authority of Brehm, Darwin tells us of a female baboon 
which had so capacious a heart that she not only adopted 
young monkeys of other species, but stole young dogs 

1 J. Corin, Mating, Marriage, and the Status of Woman (London, 
& Felling-on-Tyne, 1910), p. 17. This practice is also described 
by Thomas Hardy in Far from the Madding Crowd (London, 1922), 
P- r 39- 


and cats which she continually carried about; yet her 
kindness did not go so far as to share food with her 
adopted offspring, although she divided everything 
quite fairly with her own young ones. 1 To account for 
maternal love we must thus assume the existence of 
some other stimulus besides the perception of smallness 
and helplessness, which produces, or at least strengthens, 
the instinctive response in the mother. This stimulus 
can only be rooted in the external relationship in which 
the offspring stand to the mother from the very begin- 
ning. She is in close proximity to her helpless young 
from their tenderest age; and she loves them because 
they are to her a cause of pleasure. 

The stimuli to which paternal love responds are 
apparently derived from the same circumstances as 
those which call into activity maternal love, the helpless- 
ness and proximity of the offspring; wherever it exists 
the father is near his young from the beginning. And, 
as in the case of maternal love, the instinctive response 
may be assumed to be the result of a process of natural 
selection, which has preserved a mental disposition 
necessary for the existence of the species in which it is 
found. Professor McDougall asks how we can account 
for the fact that men are at all capable of this emotion 
and of this protective impulse; and his answer is that in 
its racial origin the instinct was undoubtedly primarily 
maternal, but, like many other characters, was trans- 
mitted to the other sex. 2 To me it seems that the 
origin of the paternal instinct offers no more difficult 
problem to solve than that of the maternal instinct. 
How could Professor McDougall's theory account for 
the parental instinct of those species in which it is 

1 C. Darwin, The Descent of Man (London, 1890), p. 70. See 
also F. Alverdes, Social Life in the Animal World (London, 1927), 

P. 135- 

2 W. McDougall, An Introduction to Social Psychology (London, 
1926), p. 59. 


found exclusively in the male, as is the rule among 
fishes that take any care at all of their offspring, and 
among certain frogs? 1 Among the birds there are a 
few species in which both the brooding and the care of 
the newly hatched young devolve exclusively on the 
male. 2 In mankind knowledge of the physiological 
function of the father in the conception of the child has 
no doubt intensified the sentiment of paternal love, but 
is not essential to it. Among animals there can of 
course be no such knowledge; and the paternal senti- 
ment exists also among those peoples who are said to be 
ignorant of the father's participation in parentage or 
whose ideas about it are of the very vaguest description. 
It might perhaps be supposed that the prevalence of 
the custom of infanticide among a large number of 
peoples testifies that parental instincts must be very 
feeble among them. Among many of the lower races 
custom decides how many children are to be reared in 
each family, and not infrequently the majority of infants 
are destroyed. There can be little doubt that this 
wholesale infanticide is in the main due to the hardships 
of savage life. The helpless infant may be a great 
burden to the parents both in times of peace and in 
times of war. It may prevent the mother from following 
her husband about on his wanderings in search of food, 
or otherwise encumber her in her work. Moreover, a 
little forethought tells the parents that their child before 
long will become a consumer of provisions already too 
scanty for the family. Savages often suffer greatly 
from want of food, and may have to choose between 
destroying their offspring or famishing themselves. 

1 A. C. L. G. Guenther, An Introduction to the Study of Fishes 
(Edinburgh, 1880), p. 163; A. Sutherland, The Origin and Growth 
of the Moral Instinct, i. (London, 1898), p. 32 sqq.\ L. A. Jagerskiold, 
Nagra valda drag ur djurens vdrd om sina ungar (Stockholm, 1902), 
p. 19 sqq.\ Alverdes, op. at. p. 66 sq. 

2 Sutherland, op. cit. i. 59 sq.\ Jagerskiold, op. cit. p. 35; idem, 
Om spel och parningslekar hos djurcn (Stockholm, 1908), p. 146. 


Hence they often have recourse to infanticide as a means 
of saving their lives; indeed, among several tribes, in 
case of famine, children are not only killed but eaten. 
Urgent want is frequently represented by our authorities 
as the main cause of infanticide; and their statements 
are corroborated by the conspicuous prevalence of this 
custom among poor tribes and in islands whose inhabit- 
ants are confined to a narrow territory with limited 
resources. Infanticide on a large scale prevails, or has 
prevailed, not only in the savage world but also among 
semi-civilised and civilised races, such as the Chinese, 
the ancient Arabs, and various Hindu castes. The 
exposure of new-born infants was practised by Indo- 
European peoples in ancient times. In the case of 
deformed or sickly infants it was a custom in Greece 
and Rome, approved of by their philosophers. Aris- 
totle even proposed that the number of children 
allowed to each marriage should be regulated by the 
State, and that, if any woman happened to become 
pregnant after she had produced the prescribed number, 
an abortion should be procured before the foetus had 
life. These views were in perfect harmony with the 
general tendency of the Greeks to subordinate the 
feelings of the individual to the interest of the State. 
Confined as they were to a very limited territory, they 
were naturally afraid of being burdened with the 
maintenance of persons whose lives could be of no use. 
It is important to notice that the custom of infanticide 
in most cases requires that the child should be killed 
immediately or soon after its birth, when the parental 
affection for it is as yet only dawning. We are told of 
the Society Islanders that " if the little stranger was, 
from irresolution, the mingled emotions that struggled 
for mastery in its mother's bosom, or any other cause, 
suffered to live ten minutes or half an hour, it was safe; 
instead of a monster's grasp, it received a mother's 
caress and a mother's smile, and was afterwards nursed 


with solicitude and tenderness ". Almost the same is 
said of other South Sea Islanders and of Australian 
tribes. That the custom of infanticide is generally 
restricted to the destruction of new-born babies also 
appears from various statements as to the parental 
love of those savages who are addicted to this practice. 
So, too, among more cultured peoples whose customs 
allow or tolerate infanticide, the child who is not 
suffered to live has to be killed in its earliest infancy. 
Among the Chinese and Rajputs it is destroyed im- 
mediately after its birth. In the Scandinavian North 
the killing or exposure of an infant who had already been 
sprinkled with water was regarded as murder. At 
Athens parents were punished for exposing children 
whom they had once begun to rear. 1 

It has been said that among ourselves the maternal 
instinct seems to be more pronounced in the poor and 
ignorant than in the cultured and civilised. 2 Clara 
Thorbecke observes that among the labouring classes 
in German cities unmarried mothers are reluctant to 
commit their children to the care of strangers; 3 but 
when women of the upper classes behave differently in 
similar situations we must remember the social degrada- 
tion that threatens them. Bertrand Russell thinks 
" that civilisation, at any rate as it has hitherto existed, 
tends greatly to diminish women's maternal feelings. 
It is probable ", he says, " that a high civilisation will 
not in future be possible to maintain unless women are 
paid such sums for the production of children as to 

1 E. Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, 
i. (London, 1912), p. 396 sqq. 

2 W. J. Robinson, Sexual Problems of To-day (New York, 1922), 
p. 295; W. Stekel, Die Geschlechtskalte der Fran (Berlin & Wien, 
1927), p. 489. 

3 Clara Thorbecke, * Die sozialen Bedingtheiten der Pubertats- 
entwicklung bei der weiblichen proletarischen Grossstadtjugend ', 
in Zeitschnft fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xvi. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1929), p. 29. 


make them feel it worth while as a money-making 
career ".* His prophecy of this novel kind of business 
is connected with his idea, already referred to, that even 
nowadays women only profess maternal feelings in 
order to please the men. Neurologists also tell us that 
there are many women who are absolutely lacking in 
such feelings. 2 But in my opinion it would be a true 
marvel if an instinct so indispensable for all mammalian 
species as is the maternal instinct could ever disappear; 
we might as well imagine that this would happen to 
sexual love, nay even to the pure sexual impulse. True, 
there are writers who dream of a time when our present 
method of reproduction will be replaced by artificial 
generation without sexual intercourse. 3 

So far as I can see, then, there is every reason to 
believe that the unity of sensual and spiritual elements 
in sexual love, leading to a more or less durable com- 
munity of life in a common home, and the desire for 
and love of offspring, are factors which will remain 
lasting obstacles to the extinction of marriage and the 
collapse of the family, because they are too deeply 
rooted in human nature to fade away, and can find 
adequate satisfaction only in some form of marriage 
and the family founded upon it. There will of course 
always be large numbers of people who for some 
reason or other will not marry, who are not suitable for 
marriage, who never fall in love or cannot marry the 
one they fall in love with, who do not miss the kind 
of home provided by married life, who have no desire 
for children. Marriage is not made for everybody, not 
attractive to everybody, nor good for everybody who 

1 B. Russell, Marriage and Morals (London, 1929), p. 170. 

2 Stekel, op. cit. p. 492. 

3 Weressajew and others, quoted by H. Vorwahl, * Zur rationa- 
lisierung des Zeugungstriebs ', in Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft 
und Sexualpolitiky xviii. (Berlin & Koln, 1931), p. 194; J. B. S. 
Haldane, Daedalus (London, 1924), p. 63 sqq. 


embarks in it. It is the cause of much suffering; it is 
bleeding from a thousand wounds. As Stevenson 
said, " marriage is like life in this that it is a field of 
battle, and not a bed of roses 'V But without it there 
would presumably be still more suffering in the world, 
and much less happiness. It is flexible: it may be im- 
proved by increasing knowledge, forethought, and self- 
control, by changed social and moral attitudes towards 
sexual relationships, by legal reforms. And while the 
persistence of marriage is conducive to individual 
welfare, it is apparently indispensable to the social 

1 R. L. Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisquc and Other Papers (Lon- 
don, 1925), p. 15. 



IN expressing my belief in the persistence of marriage I 
spoke of some form of marriage; I did not say mono- 
gamous marriage. Even in the Christian world mono- 
gamy has not always been the only form of marriage in 
the past. And there are writers who maintain that it 
will not be so in the future. 

Although the New Testament assumes monogamy 
as the normal or ideal form of marriage, it does not 
expressly prohibit polygyny, except in the case of a 
bishop or a deacon. 1 It has been argued that it was not 
necessary for the first Christian teachers to condemn 
polygyny because monogamy was the universal rule 
among the peoples in whose midst it was preached; 
but this is certainly not true of the Jews, who still both 
permitted and practised polygyny at the beginning of 
the Christian era. Some of the Fathers accused the 
Jewish Rabbis of sensuality; 2 but no Council of the 
Church in the earliest centuries opposed polygyny, and 
no obstacle was put in the way of its practice by 
kings in countries where it had occurred in the times 
of paganism. In the middle of the sixth century 
Diarmait, king of Ireland, had two queens and two 
concubines. 3 Polygyny was frequently practised by 

1 i Timothy, in. 2, 12. 

2 S. Krauss, Talmudische Archdologie y ii. (Leipzig, 1911), p. 28. 

3 H. d'Arbois de Jubainville, Cours de literature celtique, vi. 
(Paris, 1899), p. 292. 



the Merovingian kings. Charlemagne had two wives 
and many concubines; and one of his laws seems to 
imply that polygyny was not unknown even among 
priests. 1 This, of course, does not mean that such a 
practice was recognised by the Church; nor must the 
permissions granted to kings be taken as evidence of her 
rules, for, as the Council of Constantinople decided in 
809, " Divine law can do nothing against Kings ". 2 
Yet in the earlier part of the Middle Ages the strenuous 
general rule of monogamy was relaxed in certain 
exceptional circumstances, as in cases of sexual im- 
potency and of enforced or voluntary desertion. 3 In 
later times Philip of Hesse and Frederick William II. 
of Prussia contracted bigamous marriages with the 
sanction of the Lutheran clergy. 4 Luther himself 
approved of the bigamy of the former, and so did 
Melanchthon. 5 On various occasions Luther speaks 
of polygyny with considerable toleration. It had not 
been forbidden by God; even Abraham, who was a 
" perfect Christian ", had two wives. God had allowed 
such marriages to certain men of the Old Testament 
in particular circumstances, and if a Christian wanted 
to follow their example he had to show that the circum- 
stances were similar in his case; 6 but polygyny was un- 
doubtedly preferable to divorce. 7 In 1650, soon after 
the Peace of Westphalia, when the population had been 
greatly reduced by the Thirty Years' War, the Prankish 

1 A. Thierry, Narratives of the Merovingian Era (London, [1845]), 
p. 17 sqq.\ F. von Hellwald, Die menschliche Familie (Leipzig, 1889), 
p. 558 n. i; H. Hallam, View of the State of Europe during the Middle 
Ages, i. (Paris, 1840), p. 420 n. 2. 

2 W. Smith and S. Cheetham, A Dictionary of Christian An- 
tiquities, i. (London, 1875), p. 207. 

3 H. Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vi. (Philadelphia, 
1923), p. 499. 

4 E. Friedberg, Lehrbuch des katholischen und evangelischen 
Kirchenrechts (Leipzig, 1909), p. 436, note to 143. 

5 J. Kostlin, Martin Luther, ii. (Berlin, 1903), p. 475 sqq. 

6 Ibid. i. 693 sq. 7 Ibid. i. 347; ii. 257. 


Kreistag at Nuremberg passed the resolution that 
thenceforth every man should be allowed to marry two 
women. 1 Certain Christian sects have even advocated 
polygyny with much fervour. In 1531 the Anabaptists 
openly preached at Munster that he who wants to be a 
true Christian must have several wives. 2 Among the 
Mormons the duty of polygyny, when economic re- 
sources permitted, was urged upon the men, both as a 
means of securing eternal salvation and as a step in 
harmony with their earthly interests. 

Group-marriage or, as it was called, " complex 
marriage " was practised by the Oneida Community 
in Madison county, New York, which was established 
in 1848 by John Humphrey Noyes and consisted 
mostly of descendants of New England Puritans. It 
embodied the principle of community of goods and 
interests, and devised a new system of sexual relation- 
ships in harmony with this principle. All the men 
were the actual or potential husbands of all the women, 
though every man was not free to have children with 
every woman. This community of wives was based 
on Noyes' interpretation of certain passages of the New 
Testament, but he also appealed to the law of nature 
in support of it. " Sexual love ", he says, " is not 
naturally restricted to pairs. Second marriages are con- 
trary to the one-love theory, and yet are often the 
happiest marriages. Men and women find universally 
(however the fact may be concealed) that their sus- 
ceptibility to love is not burnt out by one honeymoon, 
or satisfied by one lover. On the contrary, the secret 
history of the human heart will bear out the caution 
that it is capable of loving any number of times and any 
number of persons, and that the more it loves the more 
it can love. This is the law of nature, thrust out of 
sight and condemned by common consent, and yet 

1 Von Hellwald, op. cit. p. 559 n. 2 Ibid. p. 558 n. i. 


secretly known to all ". Of monogamy we are told 
that it provokes to secret adultery, ties together un- 
matched natures, sunders matched natures, gives to 
sexual appetite only a scanty and monotonous allowance, 
and makes no provision for the sexual appetite at the 
very time when that appetite is strongest. 1 In 1879, 
however, Noyes proposed that the community should 
give up the practice of complex marriage, not as re- 
nouncing his belief in the principles and prospective 
finality of that institution, but in deference to public 
sentiment. 2 The Oneida Community then came to an 
end. The hope, cherished by some of its members, 
that the discovery of Noyes would in the future be 
accepted and adopted by the world at large needs no 
consideration. Group-marriage is supposed by several 
anthropologists, though quite arbitrarily, to have been 
the earliest form of marriage, but it may be left out of 
account in any discussion of the possible modifications 
of marriage in Western civilisation. Genuine group- 
marriage is known to exist only among peoples who 
practise polyandry, and then as a combination of 
polygyny with polyandry. 3 

The suggestion that polygyny will in the future be 
a legally recognised form of marriage deserves more 
attention. In England proposals were made, in the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, to legalise it as a 
means of restraining infanticide, adultery, prostitution, 
and the evils of sexual intercourse outside marriage. 4 
In more recent times James Hinton declared that 
although monogamy may be good, nay even the only 
good order, if of free choice, a law for it is another 

1 J. H. Noyes, History of American Socialisms (Philadelphia & 
London, 1870), p. 624 sqq. 

2 The Encyclop&dia Britannica, xx. (Cambridge, 1911), p. 106. 

3 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, iii. (London, 
1921), p. 223 sqq. 

4 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 500. 


thing. 1 We have arrived at it as a legal and universal 
form to carry it out in its integrity, and so actually 
called into being more licentiousness than would be 
possible under an open polygyny. A forced monogamy 
is responsible for many of the evils of prostitution, and 
leads to hatred and quarrels, to intense jealousy in 
women, and to an insistence on the mere physical 
relationship which turns spontaneity and purity into 
corruption. 2 " The woman's natural jealousy is not 
at a man's loving another but at his forsaking her. So, 
with the thought of love as necessarily meaning love for 
one only, two things become identified and the passion 
of jealousy becomes degraded even from its own poor 
nature to one infinitely worse. It is the association of 
love with exclusiveness that has done this ". 3 On the 
other hand, " how perfect a gain is the idea of polygamy 
voluntarily accepted or rather insisted on by woman 
(at least the legal right to it) "; it is the women who will 
lead the way. 4 That fine polygamy will break down 
" the restraint on the married women which compels 
them to hold the position of possessing to the exclusion 
of others; against their will and wish, but seeming their 
duty. . . . The wife is set free to give ". Hinton asks 
how a woman can make a more beautiful gift to her 
sister than by sharing the finest things in life with her. 5 
Mrs. Havelock Ellis, who has published extensive ex- 
tracts from Hinton 's manuscripts, says that, though his 
idea was clean and fine, " he failed to realise that his 
Quixotic cry to wives to become heroines, to distribute 
joy and to call on men to put aside impurity through a 
fine polygamy, was to a great extent a masculine claim 
in its mode of proclamation. Hinton 's ' polygamy ' 
was always a polygyny and never a polyandry ". 6 

1 Mrs. Havelock Ellis, James Hinton (London, 1918), p. 138. 

2 Ibid. pp. 124, 138, 142. 3 Ibid. p. 147. 

4 Ibid. p. 160 sq. 5 Ibid. pp. 170, 172. 

G Ibid. p. 153. 


Other writers advocate the legalisation of polygyny 
on more realistic grounds. Dr. Cope sees no objection 
to voluntary polygyny or polyandry being permitted, 
if agreed to by all three parties. " Under ordinary 
circumstances ", he says, " very few persons would be 
found willing to make such a contract, but there are 
some cases of hardship which such permission would 
remedy. Such, for instance, would be the case where 
the man or woman had become the victim of a chronic 
disease; or, where either party should be childless, and 
in other contingencies that can be imagined ". For 
the most part, he adds, " the best way to deal with 
polygamy is to let it alone 'V So also according to Mr. 
Southern, the preference that most people give to 
monogamy is no reason why the State should enforce 
it: " so far as other forms of marriage can be practised 
by mutual consent, and without detrimentally affecting 
children, the State hasn't a ghost of a right to veto 
them ". 2 Dr. Norman Haire, who maintains that 
legalised polygamy would offer many advantages for 
the majority of people, argues that " if the children are 
supported by the State there need be no limit, except 
personal inclination, to the number of legal mates a 
man or woman might have. . . . Before marriage the 
man and woman would state whether they desired the 
union to be monogamous or polygamous. If one 
wanted monogamy and the other were unwilling to 
agree to this, the marriage would not take place ". 3 
Professor Dunlap thinks it may well be that certain 
individuals cannot attain complete satisfaction in mono- 
gamy, but may reach a highly satisfying adaptation 

1 E. D. Cope, * The Marriage Problem ', in The Open Court, ii. 
(Chicago, 1888), p. 1324. 

2 G. W. R. Southern, Making Morality Modern (Mosman, 
N.S.Wales, [1934]), p. 18*7. 

3 Norman Haire, Hymen or the Future of Marriage (London, 
1928), p. 63 sqq. 



in polygynous or polyandrous marriage; and that the 
system of the future therefore will leave individuals 
free to form whatever type of matrimonial alliances are 
most advantageous to them. 1 " Change, variety, new- 
ness ", says Mr. Calverton, " seems to be part of the 
ineluctable demands of the sexual impulse. . . . The 
change of economic system and social environment 
alone have rendered monogamy a struggling fiction. 
It is part of an old age. It cannot be the marital basis 
of the new. The direction of economic life, and the 
drive of sexual impulse, are in revolt against it. What 
has happened in Soviet Russia represents only the 
vanguard of this change ". 2 But, as a matter of fact, 
Soviet law lays down that the existence of a registered 
or an unregistered marriage is an obstacle to the 
registration of a second one. 3 

In France, Dr. Le Bon has predicted that European 
legislation in the future will recognise polygyny; 4 and, 
more recently, Georges Anquetil has strongly advocated 
it. He argues that both men and, in a smaller degree, 
women are by nature polygamous, and that mono- 
gamous marriage is the outcome of social conditions 
alone. Like Engels 5 he attributes it to the subjugation 
of woman by man and his treatment of her as a piece of 
property. A return to polygyny, the natural relation- 
ship between the sexes, would remedy many evils: 
prostitution, venereal disease, abortion, the misery of 
illegitimate children, the misfortune of millions of 
unmarried women resulting from the disproportion 
between the sexes, adultery, and even jealousy, since 

1 Knight Dunlap, Civilized Life (London, 1934), p. 180 sq. 

2 V. F. Calverton, The Bankruptcy of Marriage (London, 1931), 

P . 283. 

3 tannie W. Halle, Die Frau in Sowjetrussland (Berlin, etc., 
[1932]), p. 189. 

4 G. Le Bon, La Civilisation des Arabes (Paris, 1884), P- 4 2 4- 

5 F. Engels, On the Origin of the Family, Private Property and the 
State (Chicago, s.d.), p. 79. 


the disregarded wife would find consolation in her 
cognisance of not being secretly deceived by her 
husband. 1 Hans Bliiher maintains that a man really 
requires for his complete satisfaction two women of 
different types, one of the " Penelope " type, who 
creates the home and bears children, and another who, 
like the Greek hetaira, gratifies his spiritual needs; 2 and 
he consequently demands, as a noble and needful 
institution, " the sacrament of polygyny ", consisting of 
one man's enduring relation both to a dependent spouse 
and to a free woman. 3 A radical champion of polygyny 
is Professor Christian von Ehrenfels, who regards it as 
necessary for the preservation of the Aryan race. He 
argues that as among animals the males engage in 
combats with each other for the possession of the 
female and the strongest of them become the propagators 
of the species, so also should the propagation of the 
human race be brought about by the men who are best 
suited for this task. As the sexes are about equal in 
number, polygyny would be a natural consequence of 
this arrangement, and the women would hardly offer 
any objection to it, being proud of their motherhood 
and the distinction conferred on them by it. 4 It seems 
to have escaped Professor Ehrenfels' attention that in 
modern society the polygyny proposed by him would 
presumably become the prerogative of the wealthy men, 
who are not apt to be the best propagators of the race. 5 

1 G. Anquetil, La Maitresse legitime (Paris, 1922), passim. 

2 H. Bliiher, Die Rolle der Erotik in der mdnnlichen Gesellschaft, ii. 
(Jena, 1919), p. 27 sqq. 3 Ibid. ii. 77 sqq. 

4 Chr. von Ehrenfels, Sexualethik (Wiesbaden, 1907), p. 9 sqq.\ 
idem, ' Die konstitutive Verderblichkeit der Monogamie und die 
Unentbehrlichkeit einer Sexualreform ', in Archiv fur Rassen- und 
Gesellschafts-Biologie, iv. (Miinchen, 1907), pp. 615-651, 803 sqq.\ 
idem, ' Erwiderung auf Dr. A. Ploetz ' Bemerkungen zu meiner 
Abhandlung iiber die konstitutive Verderblichkeit der Monogamie ', 
ibid. v. (1908), p. 97 sqq. 

5 Cf. S. Ribbing, in A. Moll, Handbuch der Sexualwissemchaften 
(Leipzig, 1912), p. 933. 


In discussing what chances there may be for poly- 
gyny to become a legally recognised institution in 
Western civilisation, the experience of its nature and 
causes gained from countries where it exists may be 
of some use. One factor that influences the form of 
marriage is undoubtedly the numerical proportion of 
available males and females. 1 Although our knowledge 
of the proportions of the sexes among the lower races 
is very defective, I think we may safely say that whenever 
there is a marked and more or less permanent majority 
of marriageable women in a savage tribe polygyny is 
allowed. I have found no reliable statement to the 
contrary, and cannot believe that savage custom would 
make monogamy obligatory if any considerable number 
of women were thereby doomed to celibacy. But 
when an excess of females leads to polygyny it is really 
only an indirect cause of it. It facilitates polygyny or 
makes it possible, while the direct cause is, generally, 
the men's desire to have more than one wife. If 
polygyny were permitted in modern civilisation its 
actual prevalence would also be influenced by the 
women's feelings about it. It is said that if we reckon 
the age of marriage from twenty to fifty years, the 
disproportion between the sexes causes at least three or 
four women per cent, to be, in normal circumstances, 
compelled to lead a single life in consequence of our 
obligatory monogamy. 2 But the introduction of poly- 
gyny would by no means guarantee that the number of 
married women would become larger than it is now. 
At the lower stages of civilisation nearly every man 
endeavours to marry when he has reached the age of 
puberty, and practically every woman gets married; 
but nothing of the kind would happen among ourselves. 
The number of women who have to remain single on 

1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 52 sqq. 

2 A. von Oettingen, Die Moralstatistik in ihrer Bedeutung fur eine 
SocialetJuk (Krlangen, 1882), p. 60. 


account of the disproportion between the sexes would 
certainly be a most fragile ground for legalising polygyny. 
We shall now consider the main reasons why a man 
may desire to have more than one wife. Among many 
peoples the husband must abstain from his wife during 
her pregnancy. A pregnant woman is often regarded 
as unclean, that is, more or less dangerous; she may 
even be forbidden to wait upon her husband or to eat 
with him, and sexual intercourse with her is also 
believed to injure or kill the child. 1 There may, 
however, be other than superstitious grounds for this 
taboo, and the superstitions themselves may ultimately 
have a biological foundation. As soon as the female 
mammal is impregnated she rejects all advance of the 
male until, after birth and lactation are over, another 
period of heat sets in. We are told that all monkeys, 
as an exception to the rule, tend to have sex intercourse 
until within a few weeks or even days of parturition; 2 
but this statement is based upon experience of monkeys 
in captivity, and it is quite possible that captivity has 
deranged their normal reproductive functions. 3 Dr. 
Havelock Ellis says that " as men have emerged from 
barbarism in the direction of civilisation, the animal 
instinct of refusal after impregnation has been com- 
pletely lost in women ", and that, " in civilised women 
at all events, coitus during pregnancy is usually not less 
agreeable than at other times and by some women is 
felt indeed to be even more agreeable ". 4 But Dr. 
Emanuele Meyer maintains that when sexual excitement 
is felt by women after impregnation it is due to transitory 
irritation, and that the majority of pregnant women 

1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 66. 

2 G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage (New York, 1929), 
p. 119. 

3 See my book, Three Essays on Sex and Marriage (London, 
1934), p. 200. 

4 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 17. Cf. A. Moll, Untersuchungen iiber die 
Libido sexualis (Berlin, 1898), p. 263 sq. 


have no desire for sexual intercourse even with the 
most beloved husband and, in most cases, no sexual 
feelings during such intercourse. 1 Of 81 married 
women who answered Dr. Hamilton's questions on this 
subject, 28 stated that pregnancy did not essentially 
affect their sex desire, 25 that they experienced increased, 
and 32 that they experienced decreased, desire during 
one phase or another of at least one pregnancy. 2 But 
in no case does pregnancy, among ourselves, lead to 
general abstinence from conjugal intercourse, and how- 
ever desirable it may be proved to be in certain cases and 
at certain stages of pregnancy, I think such abstinence 
is ruled out as a cause of prospective polygyny. The 
same may be said of abstinence after childbirth until the 
child is weaned, which is a very widespread cause of 
polygyny, and all the more important as among simple 
peoples the suckling-time often lasts for years. 3 

Other reasons for polygyny which are very potent 
among numbers of peoples, but would not exist at all 
in modern civilisation, are of an economic or social 
character: it contributes to a man's material comfort 
or increases his wealth through the labour of his wives, 
and at the same time adds to his social importance, re- 
putation, and authority. The usefulness of wives as 
labourers largely accounts for the increasing tendency 
to polygyny at the higher grades of savage culture; 
but economic progress also leads to a more unequal 
distribution of wealth, and this, combined with the 
necessity of paying a bride-price, the amount of which is 
more or less influenced by the economic conditions, 
makes it possible for certain men to acquire several 
wives whilst others can acquire none at all. Polygyny 
thus comes to be associated with greatness and to be 

1 F. Landmann, ' Schwangerschaftsinstinkt ', in Zeitschrift fiir 
Sexualwissenschaft, xiv. (Berlin & Koln, 1927), p. 26. 

2 Hamilton, op. ctt. p. 129. 

3 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 67 sqq. 


regarded as honourable and praiseworthy, whereas 
monogamy, as associated with poverty, is considered 
mean. 1 

Polygyny is, moreover, practised as a means of ob- 
taining a large progeny: man in a savage or barbarous 
state of society is proud of a large family, and he who 
has most kinsfolk is most honoured and most feared. I 
think that polygyny would offer no such inducement 
among us. A different thing is that the barrenness of a 
wife is a very common reason for the choice of another 
partner in addition to the former one. The desire for 
offspring is one of the principal causes of polygyny in 
the East. The polygyny of the ancient Hindus seems 
to have been due chiefly to the dread of dying childless, 
and the same motive persists among their modern de- 
scendants. Many a Mohammedan takes an additional 
wife only if the first one is barren, and he is too much 
attached to her to divorce her. It was in the hope of 
obtaining offspring that Anaxandridas, king of Sparta, 
and Diarmait, king of Ireland, contracted a second 
marriage. 2 It is conceivable that some men among 
ourselves might follow their example if they were 
permitted to do so. I knew a fisherman in Finland 
who divorced his wife because she bore him no child 
and took another one, and then lived together with both. 

We now at last come to two very important causes of 
polygyny which have a bearing on the question under 
discussion: the attraction that female youth and beauty 
exercise upon men, and man's taste for sexual variety. 
It is these characteristics of the sexual instinct, par- 
ticularly the latter one, that are thought of when it is 
said that the man is naturally polygamous and that, 
consequently, polygyny is in concordance with nature. 

From circumstances that lead to polygyny we shall 
now turn our attention to such as make for monogamy. 
Where the sexes are about equal in number, or there is 
1 Ibid. iii. 80 sqq. 2 Ibid. iii. 75 sqq. 


an excess of men, and a woman consequently has a fair 
chance of getting a husband for herself, she will hardly 
care to become the second wife of a man who is already 
married, or her parents will hardly compel her to marry 
such a man, unless some particular advantages, economic 
or social, are gained by it. Hence the absence of 
disparity in wealth or rank in a society tends to make 
monogamy general. To judge by my collection of 
facts, polygyny has not been practised on a considerable 
scale by any of the lowest savages, except some Australian 
and Bushman tribes. Again, where there is inequality 
of wealth or otherwise considerable social differentia- 
tion, the poor or low -class people may have to be 
satisfied with one wife even though there be an excess of 
females. We often hear that a man must live in mono- 
gamy owing to the price he has to pay for a bride or to 
the difficulty of maintaining several wives. Such a 
difficulty would certainly be a great obstacle to polygyny 
in modern civilisation, where so many men cannot 
afford to maintain even a single wife. The expenses of 
having several are very frequently increased by the 
necessity of providing each wife with a separate 
dwelling. In my collection of facts from the savage 
world the cases where each wife is said to live in a house 
by herself are nearly six times as many as those in which 
the wives are said to live together. The custom of 
giving a separate dwelling to each wife is intended to 
prevent quarrels and fights. 

True, we often hear that no jealousy or rivalry 
disturbs the peace in polygynous families. In many 
cases we are told that the women do not object to 
polygyny, or that they rejoice at the arrival of a new 
wife, or themselves bring their husband a fresh one 
when they become old or prove barren, or that they 
approve of polygyny because it implies a division of 
labour, or increases the reputation of the family or the 
authority of the first wife, or gives greater liberty to the 


married women. This notwithstanding I have found 
that polygyny is more frequently reported to be a cause 
of quarrel and domestic misery in the savage world. In 
Mohammedan countries, also, it occasions much strife 
and unhappiness. So far as my experience goes, there 
is in Morocco nothing that a married woman dreads 
more than the introduction of a fresh wife, nor any 
more frequent object for her witchcraft than to prevent 
such a fatality or to make her husband incapable of 
having sexual intercourse with a fellow-wife. In India, 
both* among Mohammedans and Hindus, there is much 
intriguing and disquiet in polygynous families; and the 
same seems to have been the case in ancient times in 
the Rig- Veda there are hymns in which wives curse 
their fellow-wives. In Hebrew the popular term for 
the second wife was ha$sarah, meaning " female 
enemy ". In China many women are said to dislike 
altogether the idea of getting married because they fear 
the misery which is in store for them if their husbands 
take other wives; hence some become Buddhist or 
Taoist nuns, and others prefer death by suicide to 
marriage. 1 Would the fellow-wives in the West be 
more amiable to each other than they are in the East? 
I am not certain that they would; and the husband 
might have a harder time of it than he has there, for he 
has not the same coercive power over his wife as has the 
Oriental husband. 

Female jealousy may be a hindrance to polygyny either 
because the husband for his own sake dreads its conse- 
quences, or because his wife simply prevents his taking 
another wife, or because he has too much regard for her 
feelings to do so. Even in the savage world a married 
woman often occupies a respected and influential 
position, and the relations between man and wife may 
be of a very tender character. As I have shown else- 
where, this is said to be the case among many uncivilised 
1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 86 sqq. 


peoples who are strictly or almost exclusively mono- 
gamous; and I can at least affirm that I am not aware of 
a single instance in which any such people is reported to 
treat its women badly. It is true that the position of 
women may be comparatively good also among peoples 
who are addicted, and even much addicted, to polygyny; 
but the case is different with many other peoples who 
practise it on a large scale. 1 Hence I think we may 
assume that considerations for the woman's feelings is 
one cause of monogamy among the lower races, although 
this consideration itself may be due to circumstances 
which also in other respects make for monogamy, such 
as scarcity of women or economic conditions unfavour- 
able to polygyny. And there can be no doubt that the 
same cause has been operating among civilised nations 
which prohibit polygyny. 

Apart from the general regard for the feelings of 
women, there are in sexual love itself elements that tend 
to make men inclined to restrict themselves to one wife, 
at least for some time. " The sociable interest ", says 
Bain, "is by its nature diffused: even the maternal 
feeling admits of plurality of objects; revenge does not 
desire to have but one victim; the love of domination 
needs many subjects; but the greatest intensity of love 
limits the regards to one ". The beloved person 
acquires in the imagination of the lover an immeasurable 
superiority over all others. " The beginnings of a 
special affection turn upon a small difference of liking; 
but such differences are easily exaggerated; the feeling 
and the estimate acting and re-acting, till the distinction 
becomes altogether transcendent ". 2 The absorbing 
passion for one is not confined to mankind. Hermann 
Miiller, 3 Brehm, 4 and other good observers have shown 

1 The History of Human Marriage, Hi. 97 sqq. 

2 A. Bain, The Emotions and the Will (London, 1880), p. 136 sq. 

3 H. Muller, Am Neste (Berlin, [1881]), p. 102. 

4 A. E. Brehm, Bird-Life (London, 1874), pt. iv. ch. ii. 


that it is experienced by birds. Darwin found it 
among certain domesticated mammals. 1 It has been 
noticed that even in a generally polygynous species of 
monkeys, the Hamadryas baboon, the male may care 
for one female only, once she has become a mother, and 
for their common offspring, taking no notice of other 
females. 2 Tinklepaugh describes a case of " mono- 
gamous attachment " on the part of a young Rhesus 
monkey, called " Cupid ", living in the Psychological 
Laboratory of the University of California, to a female 
common macaque much older than himself, called 
" Psyche ", that had sexually initiated him. When, 
two and a half years after their first meeting, two young 
female Rhesus monkeys were introduced into the 
laboratory, Cupid proved very antagonistic to their 
intrusion. On five successive occasions when they 
were introduced into his cage, after Psyche had been 
previously removed, he attacked them, even though he 
had been sexually starved for two or three weeks before 
three of these incidents; and when Psyche was returned 
he continued to manifest a strong sexual interest in her. 3 
In mankind the absorbing passion for one is found not 
only in civilised but also in savage men and women. 
Suicide from unsuccessful or disappointed love is by no 
means infrequent among them, and although apparently 
more common in women it also occurs in men. 4 But 
although the absorbing character of his love prevents a 
man for some time from taking another wife, it does not 
necessarily prevent his doing so for long. His love of 
one may be suppressed by his desire for change. As 

1 C. Darwin, The Descent of Man, ii. (London, 
293 sqq. 

2 A. E. Brehm, Tierleben, xiii. (Leipzig, 1920), p. 571. 

3 O. L. Tinklepaugh, * The Self- Mutilation of a Male Macacus 
rhesus Monkey ', in Journal of Mammalogy, ix. (Baltimore, 1928), 
p. 293 sqq., quoted by S. Zuckerman, The Social Life of Monkeys and 
Apes (London, 1932), p. 306 sqq. 

4 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 102 sq. 


Bernard Shaw remarked, " even those who say there is 
only one man or woman in the world for them, find that 
it is not always the same man or woman "- 1 

As pointed out above, the man's taste for variety in 
sex experience is more intense than the woman's, and 
this has led to the often repeated statement that he is 
instinctively polygynous. 2 " Man ", says Dr. Robin- 
son, " is a strongly polygamous or varietist animal. . . . 
To a greater percentage of men a strictly monogamous 
life is either irksome, painful, disagreeable or an utter 
impossibility. ... A man may love a woman deeply 
and sincerely and at the same time make love to another 
woman, or have sexual relations with her or even with 
prostitutes. It is quite a common thing with men ". 3 
Michels writes that " although for a short time, or even 
for considerable periods, a man's sexual affections may 
appear to assume an exclusive and monogamic form, it 
is Nature's will that the normal male should feel a 
continuous and powerful sexual sympathy towards a 
considerable number of women. . . . We regard it as 
beyond doubt that there is no man, of whatever degree 
of virtue, who has not, at least in imagination, or in 
dream life, possessed more women than one. Attention 
has been drawn to this fact by an unending series of 
writers, both of scientific treatises and of belletristic 
literature. ... In the male, the stimuli capable of 
arousing sexual excitement (this term is not to be 

1 G. B. Shaw, Getting Married (London, 1913), p. 153. 

2 A. Schopenhauer, Die Welt ah Wille und Vorstellung, ii. 
(Sdmmtliche Werke, iii. [Leipzig, 1916]), p. 620 sq.\ R. von Krafft- 
Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis (Stuttgart, 1903), p. 14; A. Forel, 
Sexuelle Ethik (Miinchen, 1906), p. 19; Von Ehrenfels, Sexualelhik, 
p. 13; E. H. Kisch, Die sexuelle Untreue der Frau, i. (Bonn, 1918), 
p. 83; J. Collins, The Doctor Looks at Love and Life (London, 1926), 
p. 53; B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans, The Revolt of Modern 
Youth (New York, etc., 1928), p. 192. 

3 W. J. Robinson, Woman Her Sex and Love Life (New York, 

P- 325 *q- 


understood here in the grossly physical sense) are so 
extraordinarily manifold, so widely differentiated, that 
it is quite impossible for one single woman to possess 
them all ".* 

The question has often been raised whether it is 
possible for any one to be simultaneously in love 
with several individuals which would be the truly 
polygamous form of the sexual instinct and it has been 
answered in the affirmative. 2 Iwan Bloch observes that 
it i " the extraordinary manifold differentiation of 
modern civilised humanity that gives rise to the possi- 
bility of such a simultaneous love for two individuals. 
... It is difficult always to find the corresponding 
complements in one single individual ", 3 Dr. Hamilton 
asserts that one of the contentions of the younger 
generation of spouses about which he heard a good deal 
during his studies of one hundred married men and one 
hundred married women " was to the effect that for a 
married person to have an extra-marital love affair need 
not necessarily imply dissatisfaction with the spouse: 
that, on the contrary, it may even enrich the lives of a 
husband and wife if each can have an * outside ' affair 
about which there shall be no cheating or secrecy ". 
All of the extra-marital love affairs recorded by him, 
however, did not involve sexual intercourse. 4 Dr. 
Robinson also says that, in the opinion of advanced 
sexologists, one love, instead of excluding another, may 
even intensify the other love. 5 Max Nordau holds that 
we can actually love several individuals at the same time 
with nearly equal tenderness, and that we need not lie 

1 R. Michels, Sexual Ethics (London & Felling-on-Tyne, 1914), 
p. 223 sq. 

2 G. Hirth, Wege zur Heimat (Miinchen, 1909), p. 542 sqq.\ 
R. De Pomerai, Marriage Past Present and Future (London, 1930), 

P- 34- 

3 I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time (London, 1908), p. 206. 

4 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 225. 

5 Robinson, op. cit. p. 383 sq. 


when we assure each one of our passion. 1 Van de 
Velde is much more cautious. He writes: " I must 
admit that psychic complexes, to which we dare not 
deny the proud name of love, because of their depth, 
their permanence, their variety and delicacy of emotion, 
may be, in exceptional cases, directed towards more 
than one object at the same time; nevertheless, I con- 
sider the essentially monogamous stamp of a highly 
evolved love ... as established beyond all doubt. So 
long as any one loves ardently with both soul and senses, 
the mind is so pervaded by the image of the beloved, 
that the lover remains monogamous in essentials n . 2 
" The love of two ", says Stekel, " is no genuine love ". 3 
Nordau, however, admits that the polygamous tend- 
encies may be overcome. His argument contains cer- 
tain points that may make it worthy to be quoted 
in full length. " Human love ", he says, " although 
principally nothing more than the impulse for the 
possession of a certain individual with the purpose of 
reproduction, is yet something more; it is an enjoyment 
of the intellectual qualities of the beloved being; it is 
also friendship. This element of love survives its 
physiological element. Certain it is, that the sentiment 
felt for the loved one is not the same after possession as 
it was before. But it is a profound and powerful 
sentiment still, sufficient to form the foundation for the 
desire and even for the necessity of a lifelong union, 
whose justification is no longer the natural aim of 
marriage reproduction but the want experienced by 
an intellectually more highly developed individual for 
companionship with one of similar culture. Even in 
the most constant hearts, even when the original passion 

1 M. Nordau, Conventional Lies of Our Civilization (London, 
1895), p. 296. 

2 Th. H. van de Velde, Ideal Marriage (London, 1928), p. 16 sq. 

3 W. Stekel, Die Geschlechtskalte der Frau (Berlin & Wien, 1927), 


was the most violent conceivable, love undergoes this 
transformation after the honeymoon or after the birth of 
the first child; it is still far from considering the yoke of 
matrimony a burden, but yet it is by no means a perfectly 
safe protection against the outbreak of a new passion. 
But there are other circumstances which aid the will in 
the struggle with the polygamous instinct. When the 
union of two persons, who gave evidence of their natures 
being harmoniously attuned to each other to a certain 
degree, by loving for a brief period, has lasted a while it 
becomes a habit, which sustains fidelity most wonder- 
fully. They perhaps, after a time, cease to experience 
the slightest love or even friendship for each other, but 
their companionship is still kept up, and kept up as a 
matter of course. ... If the union is blessed with 
children the tenderness of the parents is diverted to 
them, and a new love springs up in their hearts which 
twines around both parents and unites them once more, 
as a vine joins two neighbouring trees together with its 
luxuriant growth and covers them with foliage and 
blossoms, although they may be already dead and 
rotten at the core. Moreover, as the years pass the 
impulse to love grows weaker, from natural causes, and 
even if the germs of new attractions do not die out or 
vanish, it becomes easier every year for the will and 
judgment to prevent their development. There re- 
mains finally after the dawn of love has passed away, a 
sweet and deep memory of it through the remaining 
hours of the day of life, which produces a sensation of 
gratitude to the one loved once so dearly, and impels the 
two hearts to cling to each other still. On account of 
all these reasons it may be practicable to mate human 
beings monogamically for life, even if their disposition 
of mind or body seems to indicate that they were 
principally destined to a number of contemporaneous or 
succeeding relations. There will, however, always be 
numerous cases in which nothing can prevent the 


outbreak of a new passion 'V Balzac writes: " It is as 
absurd to pretend that it is impossible to love the same 
woman always, as to say that a great artist needs several 
violins to execute a piece of music to perfection ". 2 

The absorbing passion for one may be supposed to 
have become more pronounced in the course of civilisa- 
tion owing to the increasing importance of the spiritual 
element in love; but at the same time the greater 
differentiation and multiplicity of sexual stimuli have 
also increased the power of its great rival, the desire for 
variety. Married people belonging to the uncultured 
classes are evidently much less troubled by it than 
educated persons: the main thing for them is to have 
an opportunity to gratify their sexual appetite. It is 
not to be expected, then, that the conflict between those 
competing forces will become less serious in the future. 
But this does not imply that if polygyny were legalised, 
any considerable number of men would indulge in it. 
It is a curious freak on the part of Bernard Shaw to say 
that as polygyny would enable the best men to mono- 
polise all the women, a great many men would be 
condemned to celibacy. 3 Apart from other reasons, 
economic considerations, fear of domestic troubles, and 
the difficulty of finding a woman who would care to 
share her married life with a fellow- wife, would prevent 
men from taking advantage of the new right granted 
them. The experience gained from peoples who 
permit polygyny teaches us that generally only a small 
minority of the men practise it. In the Mohammedan 
world, for instance, the large majority of men live in 
monogamy. 4 In Persia, according to Colonel Mac- 
gregor, only 2 per cent, have a plurality of wives. 5 

1 Nordau, op. cit. p. 301 sqq. 

2 H. de Balzac, Physiologic du manage. Meditation v. 

3 Shaw, op. cit. p. 138 sq. 

4 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 25, 43. 

5 Ameer Ali, Mahommedan Law, ii. (Calcutta, 1908), p. 25. See 
also J. E. Polak, Persien, i. (Leipzig, 1865), p. 209. 


Among the Mohammedans of India, according to a 
report from 1907, there are 1021 wives to every 1000 
husbands, so that, even if no husbands have more 
than two wives, all but 21 per thousand must be 
monogamous. 1 

We may assume, then, that there would be little to 
be gained by legalising polygyny. On the other hand, 
any proposal to that effect would undoubtedly be 
rejected, not only as being generally unwanted by the 
men, but also as being degrading to the women and 
contrary to public feelings. Numerous facts show that 
advancement in civilisation has been adverse to poly- 
gyny. Even among the Mohammedans many of the 
educated classes regard it with " disapprobation amount- 
ing almost to disgust ", in spite of the sanction given 
it by the Koran. 2 A growing section of Islamists, 
particularly among the Mutazalas, consider it positively 
unlawful, emphasising the fact that the clause in the 
Koran which contains the permission to contract four 
contemporaneous marriages is immediately followed by 
the sentence, " And if ye fear that ye cannot be equit- 
able, then [marry] only one ". It is argued that as it is 
impossible for all ordinary men who have a plurality of 
wives to be quite impartial to each wife, monogamy 
must be considered the law for them. 3 In China the 
best feelings of the nation are said to be at heart against 
the practice of having, besides the legal principal wife, 
so-called wives " by courtesy " or lawful concubines. 4 
In Japan concubinage of the Chinese type was abolished 
as a legal institution with the promulgation of the 
Criminal Code of i88o. 5 Although Hindu law places 

1 The Imperial Gazetteer of India , i. (Oxford, 1907), p. 482. 
- Ameer Ali, op. cit. ii. 24 sq. 

3 Ibid. ii. 24; T. L. Pennell, Among the Wild Tribes of the Afghan 
Frontier (London, 1909), p. 195. 

4 J. Dyer Ball, The Chinese at Home (London, 1911), p. 47. 

5 Nobushige Hozumi, Ancestor - Worship and Japanese Law 
(Tokyo, etc., 1913), p. 142. 



no restriction upon polygyny, most castes object at the 
present day to their members having more than one 
wife, except for special reasons, such as the failure of 
the first wife to bear a son, or her affliction with some 
incurable disease or infirmity; and in such cases the 
consent of the caste panchayat must generally be 
obtained before a man marries again. 1 " Public 
opinion ", says Sir P. S. Sivaswamy Aiyer, " has been 
steadily undergoing a change in favour of monogamy as 
the result of education, economic pressure and recog- 
nition of the just claims of women ". 2 

In Europe obligatory monogamy is a time-honoured 
institution: it was not first introduced by Christianity. 
Roman marriage was monogamous. Liaisons between 
married men and mistresses were not uncommon by the 
close of the Republic, 3 but a relation $f that kind was 
not considered lawful concubinage |n , after times; 
according to Paulus, a man who had a wife (uxor) could 
not have a concubine (concubinci) at the same time. 4 
There can be little doubt that monogamy was the only 
recognised form of marriage in Greece: a second 
marriage seems to have presupposed the dissolution of 
the first, or at all events to have given the first wife the 
right to dissolve her marriage. 5 Concubinage, how- 
ever, existed at Athens at all times, and was hardly 
censured by public opinion. 6 But it was well distin- 
guished from marriage: it conferred no rights on the 

1 E. A. Gait, Census of India, 1911, i. (India) Report (Calcutta, 
1913), p. 246. 

2 P. S. Sivaswamy Aiyer, Evolution of Hindu Moral Ideas 
(Calcutta, 1935), p. 25. 

3 Cicero, De oratore, i. 40, 183. 4 Digesta, i. 16. 144. 

6 L. Beauchet, Histoire du droit privd de la Rtpublique Athinienne, 
i. (Paris, 1897), p. 41 sqq.\ U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff and 
B. Niese, Staat und Gesellschaft der Griechen und Romer (Berlin, 
1910), p. 34. 

6 Cf. Oratw in Neteram, in Demosthenes, Opera (Parisiis, 1843), 


concubine, and the children were " bastards 'V Poly- 
gyny occurred among the ancient Slavs, but generally, 
it seems, only chiefs and nobles were addicted to it. 2 
Among the West Germans, according to Tacitus, only a 
few persons of noble birth had more than one wife. 3 
Among the Anglo-Saxons there is no direct evidence of 
polygyny, but it cannot have been entirely unknown 
among them, as it is prohibited in some of their law- 
books. 4 The general custom among the ancient Irish 
was to have one wife, but we sometimes find a king or 
chief with two. 5 It has been assumed that polygyny 
occurred in ancient Gaul; 6 but this assumption is based 
on a probable misinterpretation of the word uxores in a 
statement made by Caesar, 7 where this plural seems to 
be simply due to the plural viri.* The laws of ancient 
Wales did not permit polygyny. 9 The trend of mar- 
riage in pre-Christian Europe has thus been distinctly 
monogamous. It would be strange if polygyny were 
introduced in the future even for " kings " and 
" nobles ". Up to recent times it was considered a 

1 Beauchet, op. cit. i. 82 sqq.\ E. Hruza, Beitrage zur Geschichte 
des griechischen und rdmischen Familienrechtes, ii. (Erlangen & 
Leipzig, 1894), PP- 66 > 7 sqq- 

2 G. Krek, Einleitung in die slavische I,iteralurgeschichte (Graz, 
1887), P- S^ ! s q-\ W. A. Macieiowski, Slavische Rpchtsgeschichle, ii. 
(Stuttgart & Leipzig, 1836), p. 191 sqq. 

:i Tacitus, Germania, ch. 18. 

4 Laws of Ethelred, vi. 12; Laws of Cnut, i. 7; Law of the North- 
umbrian Priests, 61 (in Ancient Laws and Institutes of England 
[London, 1840]). Of. F. Roeder, Die Familie bei den Angelsachsen 
(Halle a. S., 1899), p. 79. 

5 P. W. Joyce, A Social History of Ancient Ireland, ii. (London, 

I 93) P- 7- 

6 d'Arbois de Jubainville, op. cit. vi. 291; O. Schrader, 
Reallexikon der indogermanischen Altertumskunde (Strassburg, 1901), 

P- 6 35- 

7 Caesar, De bello gallico, vi. 19, 3. 

8 C/. C. Jullian, Histoire de la Gaule, ii. (Paris, 1908), p. 635. 

9 J. Rhys and D. Brynmor- Jones, The Welsh People (London, 
1906), p. 210. 


matter of course for a king or ruling prince to have, 
besides his wife, a concubine, whom he could change at 
will, nay also for a happily married one to have a 
maitresse en titre\ l but even this praxis can hardly be 
expected to be revived in the shape of a legal institution. 
While the man is said to be polygamous by nature, 
the woman is often said to be monogamous or pre- 
dominantly so. 2 Dr. Crete Meisel-Hess remarks that 
" in the male satiety ensues as soon as he has gained the 
goal of his desire. He wishes to pass on in search of 
fresh sexual experiences, whereas the woman who has 
given herself to a man clings for this reason all the 
more firmly to him ". 3 According to Forel, woman is 
generally much more particular than man in giving her 
love: while the normal man is as a rule attracted to 
coitus by nearly every more or less young and healthy 
woman, this is by no means the case in the normal 
woman with regard to man. She is also much more 
constant than man from the sexual point of view, and it 
is rarely possible for her to experience sexual desire for 
several men at once. 4 Georg Hirth is of the same 
opinion. 5 Of 324 female students at the University of 
Moscow 31 thought it possible to love two men at the 
same time. 6 Kisch says that " the young sexual con- 
queror is thinking of women, the sexually ripening girl 
of the man "; and he attributes the predominantly 

1 F. E. Traumann, ' Konkubinat und Rechtsordnung ', in 
Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolttik, xvi. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1929), p. 43 sq. 

2 Schopenhauer, op. cit. ii. 621; Von Krafft-Ebing, op. cit. p. 14; 
Lindsey and Evans, op. cit. p. 191; Robinson, op. cit. p. 325 sq.; 
Collins, op. cit. p. 53; L. Loewenfeld, On Conjugal Happiness 
(London, 1912), p. 169. 

3 Grete Meisel-Hess, The Sexual Crisis (New York, 1917), p. 64. 

4 A. Forel, Die Sexuelle Frage (Miinchen, 1931), p. 122. 

5 Hirth, op. cit. p. 544. 

6 S. Weissenberg, ' Das Geschlechtsleben der russischen Studen- 
tinnen', in Zeitschrift fiir Sexuakvissenschaft y xi.(Bonn y 1924), p. n. 


monogamous character of woman's love to the com- 
manding strength of its spiritual elements. 1 Johanna 
Elberskirchen writes of her own sex: " We do not long 
only for the rude sexual act. We spiritualise it at 
least some of us do so; at any rate we individualise it. 
It is one particular man whom we desire, he alone can 
still our longing, our bodily and mental hunger for 
love ". 2 Even the prostitute has generally her special 
fancy man. 3 

At the same time, the opinion that woman is by 
nature considerably more monogamous than man has 
been contradicted. Judge Bartlett writes: " The im- 
portant trend we see in the modern divorce court, and 
even out of it, is the revelation that women are little, if 
any, more monogamous than men ". 4 Dr. Friedlaender 
maintains that, in this respect, there is no difference 
between the sexes; that if men and women have found 
a partner who completely satisfy them spiritually and 
bodily, they are absolutely monogamous, whereas in the 
contrary case they are polygamous; and that the 
apparently weaker desire for variety in women is largely 
due to the greater restraints to which they are subjected. 5 
Mr. Calverton thinks that woman is more monogamous 
than man only when the social system makes such a 
relationship on her part imperative, and that under a 
convention in the coming society, which permits equal 
freedom for both sexes, women will be no less poly- 
gamous than men. 6 Of the married women studying 

1 Kisch, op. cit. i. 79, 83 sq. 

2 Johanna Elberskirchen, quoted by idem, The Sexual Life of 
Woman (London, s.d.), p. 173. 

3 W. Liepmann, Psychologic der Frau (Berlin & Wien, 1920), 
p. 1 66; Forel, Die Sexuelle Frage, p. 123. 

4 G. A. Bartlett, Men, Women and Conflict (New York & London, 

*93*)> P- J 59- 

5 K. F. Friedlaender, Die Impotenz des Weibes (Leipzig, 1921), 

p. 8. 

6 Calverton, op. cit. p. 307 sq. 


at the University of Kazan whose sexual life was 
investigated by means of questionnaires, 30 per cent, 
admitted that they practised extra-matrimonial sexual 
intercourse. 1 Dr. Hamilton's question, " Do you be- 
lieve that you would derive greater sex pleasure from 
intercourse with any other man than your husband? " 
was answered in the negative by 48 of his group of one 
hundred married women and in the affirmative by ig; 2 
and 24 of the women had committed adultery. 3 But it 
seemed to him that " the majority of the young wives 
who had indulged in adulterous sex relations had done 
so more out of loyalty to a belief in spousal sex freedom 
than in response to anything suggestive of an over- 
whelming sex urge "; the younger generation, he says, 
is displaying a considerable interest in the theory that 
marriage need not be monogamous in order to be 
successful. 4 Another American writer thinks that the 
attacks of individualism on the monogamic family 
probably need not be taken too seriously. " Already ", 
says Dr. Goodsell, " there are signs that young women 
are moving from theories (and, in some instances, 
practices) of sexual individualism to a belief in the 
desirability of permanent marriage, homes that endure 
and children upon whom the interests and plans of 
parents may focus. Having swung far toward un- 
disciplined freedom, the pendulum appears to be 
swinging back toward a modified form of mid-Victorian- 
ism. Ample evidence exists in the statements of young 
college women to the effect that marriage, home-making 
and children are experiences that they sincerely desire 
and do not intend to lose ". 5 

1 S. Weissenberg, * Weiteres iiber das Geschlechtsleben der 
russischen Studentinnen ', in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft, xii. 
(Bonn, 1925), p. 176. 2 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 164. 

3 Ibid. p. 541. 4 Ibid. p. 540. 

5 W. Goodsell, A History of Marriage and the Family (New 
York, 1934), p. 530. Cf. Lorine Pruette, in Ira S. Wile, The Sex 
Life of the Unmarried Adult (London, 1935), p. 301. 


In any case the desire for variety is not absent in 
women, whatever its strength may be; and there are 
even women who apparently need more than one man 
to make life reasonably happy for them. It may be 
said that from a purely physical point of view woman is, 
in a way, more polygamous than man: although her 
sexual energy is aroused more slowly and with more 
difficulty than man's, it is more enduring, and the act of 
sexual intercourse which exhausts his capacity may have 
only served to arouse her ardour. " At the best ", says 
Vatsayana, " a man can please only one woman physi- 
cally, mentally, and spiritually; therefore, the man who 
enters into marriage relations with more than one 
woman, voluntarily courts unhappiness and misery ". 1 
On the other hand a woman could easily sexually 
satisfy several husbands. 2 Nevertheless, the suggestion 
that in the future polyandry will be recognised among 
ourselves as a form of marriage 3 needs no serious 
consideration. In the countries where it is found it 
owes its origin to circumstances which cannot be 
supposed to recur in modern civilisation. 4 It is true 
that in certain parts of Europe cicisbeism has existed as 
a recognised custom in comparatively modern times. 
We are told that formerly a Florentine girl of good 
family, by a clause in the nuptial contract, claimed her 
right to take a lover whenever it should please her to do 
so. 5 Lady Montagu, who visited the Court of Vienna 
in 1716, writes that it is there " the established custom 
for every lady to have two husbands, one that bears the 
name, and another that performs the duties. And these 
engagements are so well known, that it would be a 

1 Vatsayana, The Kama Sutra (Amritsar, 1930), p. 195. 

2 Cf. M. Vaerting * Die monogame Veranlagung des Mannes ', in 
Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft, iii. (Bonn, 1917), p. 245 sqq.\ Ellis, 
op. cit. vi. 537. 3 Supra, p. 177 sq. 

4 See The History of Human Marriage, vol. iii. ch. xxx. 

5 E. Reclus, Primitive Folk (London, s.d.), p. 66. 


downright affront, and publicly resented, if you invited 
a woman of quality to dinner, without at the same time 
inviting her two attendants of lover and husband, 
between whom she always sits in state with great 
gravity. These sub-marriages generally last twenty 
years together, and the lady often commands the poor 
lover's estate even to the utter ruin of his family ". A 
woman, she adds, " looks out for a lover as soon as she's 
married, as part of her equipage, without which she 
could not be genteel ". And the husbands " look upon 
their wives' gallants as favourably as men do upon their 
deputies, that take the troublesome part of their business 
off of their hands; though they have not the less to do; 
for they are generally deputies in another place them- 
selves ".* These customs were of course not polyandry 
in the proper sense of the term, but merely libertinism 
peculiar to an aristrocratic clique. Even in Soviet 
Russia, where there is greater sexual freedom than in 
any other Western country, the " polyandric " women 
studied by Professor Blonsky 2 teachers between the ages 
of thirty and forty who have formed numerous relation- 
ships with men, either successively or simultaneously 
are generally depreciated and scorned by the very men 
with whom they form relationships; and they are said 
to be far from happy in other respects as well. 

In speaking of monogamy and polygamy (including 
both polygyny and polyandry) I have uniformly used 
those terms for legally recognised forms of marriage 
independently of the durability of the union not for 
other sexual relationships between one man and one 
woman or between one man and several women or 

1 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, The Letters and Works of, i. 
(London, 1861), p. 244 sq. 

2 P. Petrowitsch Blonsky, ' Zur Psychologic der monandrischen 
und der polyandrischen Frau in der modernen Kultur ', in Zeit- 
schriftfur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xvii. (Berlin & Koln, 
1930), p. i sqq. 


between one woman and several men. Like myself, 
Dr. Ellis maintains that no radical modification of the 
existing monogamic order is to be expected, but he 
thinks that we may " reasonably expect in the future a 
slow though steady increase in the recognition, and even 
extension, of those variations of the monogamic order 
which have, in reality, never ceased to exist ". He then 
means by the question of sexual variations " not a 
question of introducing an entirely new form of 
marriage, but only of recognising the rights of indi- 
viduals, in exceptional cases, to adopt such aberrant 
forms, and of recognising the corresponding duties of 
such individuals to accept the responsibilities of any 
aberrant marriage forms they may find it best to adopt ". l 
It seems to me very likely that this prediction will come 
true: that in questions of sex people will be less tied by 
conventional rules and more willing to judge each case 
on its merits, and that they will recognise greater 
freedom for men and women to mould their own 
amatory life. But so far as " aberrant marriage forms " 
are concerned, I very much doubt that the recognition 
will be a legal one. In England they are tolerated by 
the law to the extent of not being punishable in the 
ordinary sense of the term, but adultery is a legal ground 
of divorce. The husband's liberty was restricted in 
this way not many years ago; and I do not consider it 
probable that the law in the future will give greater 
freedom either to an aberrant husband or an aberrant 
wife by preventing the other party's escape from the 
bonds of matrimony. I shall revert to this subject in 
the following chapter. 

1 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 502. 



THE uniformity of Western legislation with regard to 
monogamy as the only recognised kind of matrimony 
contrasts sharply with the extraordinary variability of 
its attitudes towards the dissolubility of marriage. The 
extremes in this respect are on the one hand the total 

Erohibition of divorce in countries following the canon 
iw of the Roman Catholic Church, and on the other 
hand the provision of the Soviet law which recognises 
even the desire of one of the parties as an unconditional 
ground of divorce. 

According to the fully developed Roman Catholic 
doctrine, a consummated Christian marriage is a sacra- 
ment and must as such remain valid for ever. It 
represents the union between Christ and the Church, 
and is consequently as indissoluble as that union. It is 
also permanent according to the law of nature, because 
only as permanent can marriage fulfil its object. And 
God made it so at the very beginning of our race, when 
He decreed that a man shall leave his father and his 
mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be 
one flesh. Yet in spite of the theory of the indissolu- 
bility of Christian marriage, the Roman Catholic 
doctrine gives ecclesiastics a large practical power of 
dissolving marriages which may have appeared perfectly 
valid. The Church recognised a legal process which 
was popularly, though incorrectly, called a divorce a 
vinculo matrimoniiy " from the bond of matrimony ", in 
case the union had been unlawful from the beginning on 

CH. x DIVORCE 203 

the ground of some canonical impediment, such as 
relationship or earlier engagement of marriage. This 
only implied that a marriage which never had been valid 
would remain invalid; but practically it led to the 
possibility of dissolving marriages which in theory were 
indissoluble. For, as Lord Bryce observes, " the rules 
regarding impediments were so numerous and so 
intricate that it was easy, given a sufficient motive, 
whether political or pecuniary, to discover some ground 
for declaring almost any marriage invalid > '. 1 A man 
might slip out of matrimonial bondage by swearing that 
he was his wife's distant cousin, or had loved her sister 
in his youth, or had before his marriage stood godfather 
to one of her near spiritual kindred. 

For a long time, however, the doctrine of the Western 
Church was not accepted in full by the legislators. The 
Christian emperors laid down certain grounds on which 
a husband could divorce his wife and a wife her husband 
without blame; and the possibility of divorce remained 
in the Roman codes of the German kings. But since 
the days of Charlemagne the canonical doctrine of the 
indissolubility of marriage entered the secular legislation 
of German peoples, and in the tenth century the 
ecclesiastical rules and courts gained exclusive control 
of this branch of law in Germany. At a somewhat 
earlier date the provisions of the Roman law had been 
superseded by new rules enforced by the Church in the 
regions where the imperial law had been observed. 2 
For many centuries afterwards divorce was not per- 
mitted by law in any Roman Catholic country, until it 
was introduced in France in 1792. At the Restoration 
in 1816 it was abolished there, but was re-enacted by a 
law of 1884. In the course of the nineteenth century 

1 Lord Bryce, Studies in History and Jurisprudence, ii. (Oxford, 
1901), p. 434. 

2 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, iii. (London, 
1921), p. 328 sqq. 


and during the present one it was made legal in various 
Roman Catholic countries, also in the case of marriage 
between Catholics. In the United States South 
Carolina stands alone in granting no divorces whatso- 
ever, which is the more remarkable as no state has fewer 
Roman Catholic citizens. It is the only Protestant 
community in the world which nowadays holds marriage 
indissoluble. 1 

The canonical doctrines that marriage is a sacrament 
and that it is indissoluble save by death were rejected by 
the Reformers. As said above in the discussion of 
adultery, they all agreed that this offence should be a 
ground of divorce, and most of them regarded malicious 
desertion as a second legitimate cause for the dissolution 
of marriage. The latter opinion was based on St. 
Paul's dictum that a Christian married to an unbeliever 
" is not under bondage " if the unbeliever depart, 
which was broadened by Luther so as to include 
malicious desertion even without a religious motive. 
The same reformer admitted that the worldly authorities 
might allow divorce also on other strong grounds, and 
mentioned himself obstinate refusal of conjugal inter- 
course as sufficient cause for it. Several reformers 
went farther than Luther; but the Fathers of English 
Protestantism as a body were more conservative than 
those of the Continent. 2 

Desertion, or " malicious " desertion, or desertion 
" without just cause or excuse ", is very frequently 
mentioned as a ground of divorce by modern law-books, 
especially Protestant ones. In Germany the term of 
desertion must be at least one year; in other countries 
two or three or even five years. But desertion may be a 
ground of divorce even when it is not expressly men- 
tioned as such by the law, as in France and Belgium, in 
so far as it may be regarded as an injure grave justifying 

1 The History of Human Marriage, Hi. 3 3 qsqq. 2 Ibid. ill. 334 sq. 

x DIVORCE 205 

dissolution of the marriage. In the laws of various 
countries attempt on the life of one spouse by the other 
is specified as a ground on which a divorce may be 
obtained; and in most countries in which divorce is 
allowed ill-treatment of some kind is a sufficient reason 
for it. In almost all of the commonwealths of the 
United States " divorce " generally " from the bond 
of matrimony ", but in some of them " from bed and 
board " only is obtainable for cruelty. The degree of 
cruelty necessary is usually actual and repeated violence 
endangering life, limb, or health, or giving reasonable 
grounds to apprehend such danger; but some juris- 
dictions add to this intolerable indignities to the person, 
public and false accusations of adultery, habitual 
manifestations of hatred, or violent and ungovernable 
temper. An extremely frequent ground of divorce is 
the condemnation of one of the parties to a certain 
punishment or his or her being convicted of a certain 
crime. The German code speaks neither of punish- 
ment nor of crime, but regards dishonourable or 
immoral conduct generally as a " relative " ground of 
divorce, which implies that it is left to judicial discretion 
whether in the special circumstances of the case divorce 
ought to be granted. 

There are yet some particular offences that are 
mentioned in some law-books as causes for divorce. In 
the United States a husband who is able to support 
his wife, but for a certain time neglects to do so, may, 
according to many jurisdictions, be divorced on that 
account; and according to an even greater number, 
divorce may be obtained on proof of the habitual 
drunkenness of either party for varying terms. In 
North Carolina a husband may obtain a divorce if his 
wife has without good reason refused sexual intercourse 
to him for the space of twelve months. The refusal of 
sexual intercourse was a ground of divorce according 
to various German law-books previous to the imperial 


code, and, though not specially mentioned in that code, 
it is considered to be included among the " relative " 
grounds of divorce. In England the mere wilful refusal 
of a wife to submit to her husband's embraces is not 
per se a ground for annulling a marriage, but if she 
refuses to submit to inspection the court will presume 
her impotence, being averse to a husband using ex- 
cessive force; and so also, if a husband refuses to 
consummate his marriage, the court may draw the 
inference that such refusal arises from impotence and 
may annul the marriage. 

Besides offences of some kind or other committed by 
either husband or wife and entitling the other party to 
demand a dissolution of the marriage there are other 
circumstances recognised as grounds of divorce, which 
may or may not involve guilt in one of the parties, but 
in all cases are supposed to make marriage a burden for 
the other spouse. Impotence in the husband or wife, 
existing at the time of marriage and afterwards, but 
unknown to the other party, is specially mentioned as a 
cause of divorce in some law-books. In England it 
has long been a ground for pronouncing an otherwise 
valid marriage invalid; and in the United States also 
divorce is commonly granted for incurable physical 
incapacity if the plaintiff was ignorant of the defendant's 
condition. Other grounds of divorce, according to 
many law-books, are contagious venereal or certain other 
diseases, and insanity which existed at the time of 
marriage or prior to it without the knowledge of the 
other party, or insanity which has been pronounced 
incurable or gives no reasonable hope of recovery after 
three or sometimes five years' duration. 1 

These are the most general grounds of divorce laid 
down in modern law-books. English law is the only 
one in Europe that recognises none but sexual reasons 

1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 344 sqq. 

x DIVORCE 207 

either for the dissolution or the annulment of marriage. 
The Majority Report of the Royal Commission of 1909 
recommended that divorce should, in the future, be 
obtainable for the following reasons: adultery; wilful 
desertion for three years and upwards; cruelty; in- 
curable insanity after five years' confinement; habitual 
drunkenness found to be incurable from the first order 
for separation; and imprisonment under commuted 
sentence of death. 1 These recommendations were 
deprecated by the Minority Report, which declared, on 
the 4 one hand, that there was no public demand for any 
such concessions, and on the other hand, that, as the 
experience of other countries proved, the granting of 
the concession was invariably followed by a sudden and 
serious increase in the number of demands for divorce. 2 
The recommendations of the Majority Report have 
hitherto been ignored, with the exception of the pro- 
posal that in the case of adultery women should be 
placed on an equality with men. 3 

Legislators are still imbued with the idea that a 
marriage must inevitably end in a catastrophe, either by 
the death or some great misfortune of one of the consorts 
or by the commission of a criminal or immoral act, 
which is evidently regarded as a more proper ground or 
excuse for dissolving the marriage than the mutual 
agreement of both. Yet divorce by mutual consent is 
very ancient in European legislation. According to 
Roman law a " free " marriage, which implied that the 
wife did not fall under the manus of her husband, could 
be dissolved either by mutual agreement between both 
parties or by the will of one party only; and the rules of 
divorce which were recognised in the case of a free 
marriage were afterwards extended to marriages with 

1 Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, Report of 
the Commissioners, 329. 

2 Ibid., Minority Report. 

3 Ibid., Report of the Commissioners, 219. 


manus. Divorce by mutual consent was permitted in 
the Roman Empire even in Christian times. The 
facility of such divorce remained in the Roman codes of 
the German kings; and those subjects of the Western 
rulers who elected to live under the old Teutonic 
systems of law seem to have had an equal facility. Thus 
the dooms of Aethelbirht, Christian though they be, 
suggest that the marriage might be dissolved at the will 
of both parties or even at the will of one of them. 1 In 
ancient Ireland separation of married couples might take 
place either by mutual consent or as the outcome of 
legal proceedings; and in ancient Wales either husband 
or wife might, practically, separate whenever one or 
both chose. 2 In later times, when the Roman Catholic 
prohibition of divorce of any kind was revoked by the 
Reformers, mutual consent was not recognised as a 
legitimate ground for dissolving a marriage. It only 
reappeared as the result of the fresh impetus to a more 
liberal legislation which was given in the eighteenth 
century by the new philosophy with its conceptions of 
human freedom and natural rights. If marriage is a 
contract entered into by mutual consent, it seemed 
natural that it should also be dissolvable if both parties 
wish to annul the contract. In the Prussian Project 
des Corporis Juris Fridericiani of 1749, " founded on 
reason and the constitutions of the country ", it is 
admitted that married people may demand with common 
consent the dissolution of their marriage. The pro- 
cedure in the affair, however, shall be only gradual. 
First, endeavours shall be made to reconcile the parties, 
and, if it be necessary, a clergyman shall be called to 
give them a suitable exhortation. If these steps prove 
ineffectual, they shall be separated from bed and board 
for one year; but if after this period they still persist in 
their petition and there remain no more hopes of recon- 

1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 321, 322, 332 sq. 
2 Ibid. iii. 323 sq. 

x DIVORCE 209 

ciling them, the marriage may be dissolved. 1 The 
' Project ' never became law; but in practice divorce 
was freely granted by Frederick II ex gratia principis at 
the common request of husband and wife. 2 In the 
Prussian ' Landrecht ' of 1794 divorce by mutual consent 
is admitted if the couple have no children and there is 
no reason to suspect levity, precipitation, or compulsion; 
and power is given to the judge to dissolve a marriage in 
cases in which he finds a dislike so strong and deeply 
rooted that there is no prospect of reconciliation and the 
marriage consequently will fail to fulfil its aim. 3 

In France the new ideas led to the law on divorce 
of aoth September 1792, previous to which date the 
Roman Catholic canon law prevailed. In the preamble 
of the new law it is said that marriage is merely a civil 
contract, and that the facility in obtaining divorce is the 
natural consequence of the individual's right of free- 
dom, which is lost if engagements are made indissol- 
uble. 4 Divorce is granted on various grounds, among 
others on the mutual desire of the two parties, and even 
at the wish of one party on the ground of incompati- 
bility of temper, subject only to a short period of delay 
and to the necessity of appearing before a family council 
who are to endeavour to arrange the dispute. 5 It was 
said that divorce was instituted in order to preserve in 
marriage " cette quietude heureuse qui rend les senti- 
ments plus vifs ", 6 Marriage would no longer be a 

1 Project des Cor ports Juris Fridericiani (Halle, 1749), i., 
p. 56. 

2 E. Roguin, Traiti de droit civil compart: Le manage (Paris, 
1904), p. 334. 

3 Allgemeines Landrecht fur die Preussischen Staaten (Berlin, 
1828-1832), 716, 718. 

4 Loi sur le divorce: 20 septembre 1792 (in Lois civiles interm6di- 
aires, i. [Paris, 1806], p. 325). 

5 Ibid. i. 2 sq.\ ii. i sqq. (vol. i. 326 sqq.). 

6 H. Taine, Les Origines de la France contemporaine , iii. (Paris, 
1881), p. 102. 



yoke or a chain, but " 1'acquit d'une dette agreable que 
tout citoyen doit a la patrie. . . . Le divorce est le dieu 
tutelaire de 1'hymen. . . . Libres de se separer, les 
epoux n'en sont que plus unis 'V The new law was 
certainly very popular: in the year VI. the number of 
divorces in Paris exceeded the number of marriages. 2 
But six years later, in 1804, the law of 1792 was super- 
seded by the new provisions in Napoleon's Code civil 
des Franfais. Divorce was made more difficult. Mere 
incompatibility of temper is no longer recognised as a 
cause for it. Marriage may still be dissolved on the 
ground of mutual consent, but on certain conditions 
only: the husband must be at least twenty-five years of 
age and the wife twenty-one; they must have been 
married for at least two years and not more than twenty 
years, and the wife must not be over forty-five years of 
age; the parents or the other living ascendants of both 
parties must give their approval; and the mutual and 
unwavering consent of the married couple must 
sufficiently prove " that their common life is insupport- 
able to them, and that there exists in reference to them 
a peremptory cause of divorce ", 3 When, after the 
abolition of divorce in France in 1816, it was re-enacted 
by a law of 1884, ^ divorce law of the Napoleonic code 
was again introduced, but with important changes, one 
of which was that divorce by mutual consent had 

Nowadays it is allowed in Belgium and Rumania, 
but is in both countries surrounded by the old barriers 
of the Code Napoleon, 4 which makes it very rare in 
practice; it is said that in Rumania only about one 

1 L. Mortimer-Ternaux, Histoire de la Terreur 1792-1794, iv. 
(Paris, 1864), p. 408. 

2 E. Glasson, Le Manage civil et le divorce (Paris, 1880), p. 261. 

3 Code civil des Francais (Code Napotton) (Paris, An XII.-i8o4), 
arts. 275 sqq., 233. 

4 Belgian Code civil (Bruxelles, 1914), arts. 233, 275 sqq.\ Codicele 
civile (Bucuresci, 1866), arts. 214, 254 sqq. 

x DIVORCE 211 

divorce out of a hundred takes place by mutual consent. 1 
The civil code of imperial Austria permitted such 
divorce to Jews 2 though to no other citizens in 
accordance with the principle of Rabbinic law that the 
court has no right to interfere when both parties declare 
that their marriage is a failure and they desire to dissolve 
it. 3 In Mexico the marriage may be dissolved, after 
the observance of certain formalities, by the mutual 
agreement of the parties when they have been married 
for ,at least a year. 4 In Portugal a divorce may be 
obtained after a separation de facto by mutual consent 
for ten years. 5 In Wisconsin and one or two other 
North American states there is the provision that when 
married parties have voluntarily lived separate five years 
the court may dissolve the marriage bond, and the 
interpretation of this provision is that " the separation 
must be mutual ". 6 In Denmark marriage may be dis- 
solved upon the common application of the parties after 
living apart for one year and a half, 7 and in Norway 8 
and Guatemala 9 after one year's separation, in accord- 
ance with a decree of separation; and such a decree may 
itself have been obtained by mutual consent. 10 The laws 

1 Roguin, op. cit. p. 335 sq. 

2 Das allgemeine biirgerliche Gesetzbuch fur das Kaisertum Oester- 
reich (Wien, 1916), 133. 

3 M. Mielziner, The Jewish Law of Marriage and Divorce in 
Ancient and Modern Times (Cincinnati, 1884), p. 120 sq. 

4 Ley sobre relaciones familiar es (Paris & Mexico, 1917), arts. 76, 
82 sqq. 

5 Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes. Ap- 
pendices (London, 1912), p. 152. 

6 J. P. Bishop, New Commentaries on Marriage, Divorce, and 
Separation, i. (Chicago, 1891), p. 752. 

7 Lov om Aegteskabs Indgaaelse og Oplosning, June 30, 1922, vi. 54. 

8 Lov om ingaaelse og oplosning av egteskap, May 31, 1918, v. 43. 

9 Roguin, op. cit. p. 336. 

10 Lov om Aegteskabs Indgaaelse og Oplosning, vi. 52 (Denmark); 
Lov om ingaaelse og oplosning av egteskap, v. 41 (Norway); Roguin, 
op. cit. p. 336 (Guatemala). 


of Sweden, 1 Finland, 2 Greece, and Costa Rica 3 admit 
likewise consensual separation; and a separation may, 
upon the application of either husband or wife, be 
converted into a divorce, in Denmark after two years 
and a half, 4 in Norway, 5 Finland, 6 Greece (apparently), 
and Costa Rica 7 after two years, and in Sweden after 
one year. 8 In the Soviet law there are no such restric- 
tions. It goes in fact even further than the French law 
of 1792 by simply stating that " the grounds for divorce 
may be either the mutual consent of the parties or the 
desire of one of them ". 9 If the union is not entered 
in the registry books, men and women part without 
formalities. If they have " inscribed themselves " all 
they have to do is " write themselves out ", that is, 
record their separation in the books. The law steps in 
only when there are children, and then not to hold the 
family together but to make provision for the children. 10 
In various countries of Eastern civilisation mutual 
consent is a ground of divorce. In China it was 
recognised as such even in the old code, which expressly 
said that, " when the husband and wife do not agree, and 
both parties are desirous of separation, the law limiting 
the right of divorce shall not be enforced to prevent 
it "." The Japanese Civil Code promulgated in 1896- 
1898 recognises two forms of divorce: by mutual 
agreement and by judicial decree. In order to effect a 

1 Giftermdlsbalk given Stockholms slott, June n, 1920, xi. i. 

2 Aktenskapslag given Helsingfors, June 13, 1929, ii. 76. 

3 Roguin, op. cit. p. 334. 

4 Lov om Aegteskabs Indgaaelse og Oplosning, vi. 54. 

5 Lov om ingaaelse og oplosning av egteskap, v. 43. 

6 Aktenskapslag given Helsingfors, ii. 76. 

7 Roguin, op. cit. p. 342 sq. 

8 Giftermdlsbalk given Stockholms slott, xi. 3. 

9 Soviet Law of Marriage and the Family , 87 (in Contemporary 
Review, cxvii. [London, 1920], p. 574). This clause was not affected 
by the subsequent revision of the law. 

10 M. Hindus, Humanity Uprooted (London, etc., 1929), p. 115 sq. 

11 Ta Tsing Leu Lee (London, 1810), sec. cxvi. p. 120. 

x DIVORCE 213 

divorce by mutual agreement, however, a person who 
has not yet reached the age of twenty-five years must 
obtain the consent of those persons whose consent 
would be necessary for his or her contracting a marriage. 
The latter form of legal divorce, which requires an act 
of the court upon the contested request of one of the 
parties, must be for some one of certain causes recog- 
nised by law. 1 Among certain low castes in the north 
of India and among many castes, both high and low, in 
the south, the orthodox Hindu law of divorce is more or 
less disregarded , usage having superseded texts. Agree- 
ably to such usage, the granting of a divorce, or the 
recognition of a divorce as one properly made, is the 
duty of the caste. In some cases the mere will of either 
party or of both parties suffices, and there the caste can 
do very little, except to accept what has been done; and 
where it is allowed by custom, a divorce by mutual 
agreement is also recognised by law. Among the 
Buddhists of Burma marriage can be annulled by either 
side without much difficulty, and may always be dis- 
solved by the consent of the parties. In Siam 
mutual consent is likewise a good and valid ground 
of divorce. 2 

The grounds on which divorce may be obtained 
according to the existing laws of those European and 
American states in which it is permitted belong to a 
branch of legislation which has or late been subjected to 
so many changes that I may have been unable to keep 
pace with all of them, and some of my statements, 
though derived from the best sources available to me, 
may possibly have become antiquated in the course of 
the last few years. In any case, the unequivocal trend 
of those changes has been to increase the legal facilities 
of divorce; and, as Dr. Ellis remarks, " in no civilised 

1 The Civil Code of Japan (Bremen & Tokyo, $.</.), 808, 809, 

2 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 316 sq. 


country is there any progressive movement for adding to 
the legal impediments 'V The legislators have not, 
like the framers of the Minority Report of the Royal 
Commission of 1909, found reasons to think that " the 
State is called rather to strengthen than to relax the 
strictness of its marriage laws ". 2 Montaigne wrote 
long ago: " We have thought to tie the nuptial knot of 
our marriages more fast and firm by having taken away 
all means of dissolving it; but the knot of the will and 
affection is so much the more slackened and made 
loose, by how much that of constraint is drawn closer. 
. . . Quod licet, ingratum est; quod non licet, acrius 
urit (' What you may, is displeasing; what is forbidden, 
whets the appetite ') ". 3 A strong reason for the 
recommendations of the majority report of the Royal 
Commission was the probability that if divorces could 
not be obtained in the cases recommended, many of 
those who wanted them, but could not get them, would 
form irregular connections. 4 " Paradoxical as it may 
appear/' says Dr. Lichtenberger, " it is the reverse of 
the traditional process which seems to give the greatest 
promise of success, that is, the loosening of the marriage 
bonds in order to strengthen them ". 5 

It is a mistake to believe that the rates of divorces are 
proportionate to the facility with which divorce may be 
obtained according to law. Dr. Willcox even maintains 
that " the immediate, direct and measurable influence 
of legislation is subsidiary, unimportant, almost imper- 

1 H. Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, vii. (Philadelphia, 
1928), p. 508. 

2 Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, Minority 

3 M. de Montaigne, Essais, book ii. ch. 15 (English translation, 
ii. [London, 1877]), p. 387). 

4 Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, Report 
of the Commissioners, 238. 

6 J. P. Lichtenberger, Divorce (New York & London, 1931), 

P- 45 6 - 

x DIVORCE 215 

ceptible ".* In support of this opinion he pointed out 
that in New York, in spite of its more stringent divorce 
law, the rate of divorces was higher than in New Jersey 
and only a little lower than in Pennsylvania. This 
means that more divorces for adultery were granted in 
New York, in proportion to the population, than for 
adultery and desertion in New Jersey, and almost as 
many as for adultery, cruelty, and imprisonment in 
Pennsylvania. From this he drew the conclusion that 
" limiting the causes increases the number of divorces 
in those which remain, but without materially affecting 
the total number. A certain proportion of the married 
couples in the three states desired divorce and were 
willing to offer the evidence required in order to obtain 
the decree J> . 2 Professor Lichtenberger more recently 
tabulated the new grounds for divorce legislated in 
twelve of the eighteen states in which significant changes 
were made, and examined the divorce-rate in the five 
years following each of those twelve new pieces of 
legislation. He then found that in not a single instance 
was there the slightest suggestion that the divorce-rate 
in any state had been influenced materially by the 
introduction of new causes. 3 Another American writer 
points out that legal grounds for divorce fail to explain 
the wide divergence in state divorce-rates between the 
eastern and western sections of the country; 4 and nearly 
every one of the American states has a higher divorce- 
rate than any European country, although their grounds 
of divorce are more restricted than those laid down 
in several European law-books. 5 Much depends, of 
course, on the manner in which the law is administered. 

1 W. F. Willcox, The Divorce Problem (New York, 1891), p. 61. 

2 Ibid. p. 45 sq. 

3 Lichtenberger, op. cit. p. 185. 

4 A. Cahen, Statistical Analysis of American Divorce (New York, 
1932), p. 139. 

5 The History of Human Marriage^ iii. 364 sq. 


It seems that the exceptionally great divorce-rates in the 
United States are largely due to the laxity of procedure 
which has grown up there. One wife alleges that her 
husband has never offered to take her out " riding " 
(driving); another, that he does not come home till ten 
o'clock at night, and when he does return he keeps 
plaintiff awake talking. 1 At the same time we find that 
in England the removal of a legal obstacle to divorce has 
distinctly increased its frequency. Shortly after the 
Act was passed in 1923 which gave men and women 
equality as regards grounds for divorce, the divorce-rate 
began to climb, and an estimate of this increase shows 
that between 1924 and 1930 an addition of about 36 per 
cent, per year was made to the residual divorces as a 
result of that Act; 2 this, however, may be regarded as an 
extreme case. But while the stringency of the law may 
generally exercise comparatively little influence on the 
number of divorces, it certainly leads to a great deal 
of falsehood, perjury, and humiliating pretences. As 
Judge Lindsey remarks, " it must be shown, often by 
deliberately manufactured testimony, that one or the 
other or both of the parties have been guilty of some 
reprehensible conduct toward each other, such as 
adultery, cruelty, and the like; and thus, in order to 
break away from each other, they must stand up in 
public and accuse each other of offences that would 
often be impossible to either of them ". 3 

The surest method of keeping down divorces is to 
make them very costly. The history of divorce in 
England gives us convincing evidence of this. Although 
the annulment of marriage by the Church was possible 
in early times, there was no real divorce (that is, divorce 

1 Bryce, op. cit. ii. 441 sqq. 

2 D. V. Glass, * Divorce in England and Wales ', in Sociological 
Review, xxvi. (London, 1934), p. 296. 

3 B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans, The Revolt of Modern 
Youth (London, etc., 1928), p. 137 sq. 

x DIVORCE 217 

a vinculo) until the middle of the sixteenth century, 
when the Marquis of Northampton had his second 
marriage declared valid by a " Commission of learned 
men " on the ground of his first wife's infidelity. This 
decision was confirmed by Act of Parliament, and it was 
by this means that divorces were obtained in the 
succeeding centuries, since a valid English marriage 
could not be dissolved by mere judicial authority. But 
such a parliamentary divorce was a remedy that was 
reserved for the very rich: owing to the triple cost of 
the law action, the ecclesiastical decree granting a 
" divorce from bed and board ", and the legislative 
proceedings, it could be obtained only through the 
expenditure of a fortune sometimes amounting to 
thousands of pounds. The result was that only no 
divorce bills were passed during the period 1715 to 
1852, an average of less than one a year. 1 In the civil 
divorce law of 1857 the legal principle of the indis- 
solubility of marriage was at last abandoned (after 
stubborn resistance), and for the dilatory and expensive 
proceedings of three tribunals was substituted one 
inquiry by a court specially constituted to exercise this 
jurisdiction. The cost of divorce was thus reduced, 
but it remained still sufficiently high to make divorce 
restricted to a definite monetary class. This was hardly 
creditable to a nation who was proud of its democratic 
institutions, and in 1914 a Poor Persons' Procedure was 
initiated, which made it possible for a " poor person " 
one whose income does not exceed 2 a week or who 
does not possess goods worth more than 50 to obtain 
a divorce for not more than 5 and frequently even for 
a few shillings or nothing. Now at last the working 
class began to enter the field of divorce: during the 
period 1922 to 1930 in six of the years, Poor Persons 
added not less than 45 per cent, per year to the other 

1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 336 sq.; Glass, loc. cit. 
p. 288. 


divorces. 1 Yet the law is still harsh to people of small 
means. The question of costs bears hardly on those 
who are just outside the limits of the Poor Persons' Act, 
and many judges have commented on cases in which a 
litigant with an income of 2, ics. or 3 a week has 
become responsible for divorce costs of 100 or more. 
The Council of the Law Society has recommended that 
in such " border-line " cases the Poor Persons Com- 
mittees should have power to grant a higher income 
certificate, but at present that remains only a recom- 
mendation. At the other end of the social scale there 
are cases in which the costs can amount to thousands, 
and sometimes tens of thousands of pounds, especially 
if the case goes to the Court of Appeal and, possibly, to 
the House of Lords. 2 

The existence of children has been a serious argument 
against facility of divorce. It could of course be no 
argument against an easy dissolution of childless mar- 
riages; but it is extremely seldom we find that in legal, 
and seldom even in proposed grounds of divorce, any 
discrimination is made between marriages with children 
and childless ones. There seems also to be good reason 
for making no such distinction; for when it is desirable 
for a couple to be divorced it is evidently, as a rule, best 
for the children as well, if there are any, the company 
and supervision of one parent being preferable to the 
management of two who cannot agree; as Mr. Shaw 
says, " an unhappy household is a bad nursery ". 3 This 
is recognised by many writers whose opinions com- 
mand respect, 4 and also by social workers who do 

1 Glass, loc. cit. pp. 291, 293, 295. 

2 The Star, August 12, 1935; Evening News, August 12, 1935. 

3 G. B. Shaw, Getting Married (London, 1913), p. 183. 

4 Ellis, op. cit. vi. 467 sq.\ E. S. P. Haynes, Divorce as It Might Be 
(Cambridge, 1915), p. 44; W. J. Robinson, Woman Her Sex and 
Love Life (New York, 1923), p. 357 sq.\ A. Moll, Handbuch der 
Sexuahvissenschaften (Leipzig, 1912), p. 427 ; F. Kiinkel, in Marcuse, 
Die Ehe (Berlin & Koln, 1927), p. 469; K. Klink, Die Reform- 

x DIVORCE 219 

not discount the difficulties which are involved for the 
child, and particularly the young child, when his parents 
sever their marriage ties. 1 " No child ", says Dr. 
Mowrer, " can develop normally in a family situation 
surcharged with tension between parents. Even though 
the parents do all in their power to conceal their conflict 
from their children, minimal expressions, incipient 
coldness and reserve, belie all attempts to hide the 
strained relations, and therefore react upon the child ". 2 
Dr. Nimkoff observes that such parental discord not 
only tends to build up tensions within the child, but 
also serves as an excellent training course for him. 
" Nothing conduces to antagonistic attitudes more than 
to be reared in their midst. A home torn by strife 
conditions the child in habits of pugnacity, and it causes 
him to react violently against the whole familial situa- 
tion. Illness, nervous disorders, and even nervous 
break-down may be the child's responses to the hostile 
forces arrayed against him ". 3 

There is every reason to believe that the recent trend 
of Western legislation to increase the facilities of divorce 
will continue in the future. The impediments to it are 
only the diluted effects of the Canon law with its total 
prohibition of divorce, in conformity with the ascetic 
spirit of Christianity. In many Catholic countries the 
Church has already lost her power to enforce this 
prohibition, and in some of them it has even been 

bestrebungen im Ehescheidungsrecht (Berlin, 1928), reviewed in Zeit- 
schrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 
1928), p. 360. B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans (The Companion- 
ate Marriage [London, 1928]), pp. 268, 379) say at any rate that 
this is often the case; see also B. Russell, Marriage and Morals 
(London, 1929), p. 247 sq. 

1 M. F. Nimkoff, The Family (Cambridge, Mass., 1934), p. 449. 

2 E. R. Mowrer, The Family Its Organization and Disorganization 
(Chicago, 1932), p. 217. 

* M. F. Nimkoff, The Child (Chicago & Philadelphia, 1934), p. 


succeeded by a remarkably liberal divorce law, owing to 
the fact that its grounds of divorce have been largely 
copied from the earlier law relating to judicial separa- 
tion, which could be obtained more easily than divorce 
in most Protestant countries. 1 We may take for 
granted that the Canonic dogma of the indissolubility 
of marriage, in spite of papal protests, will, before very 
long, lose its hold on the legislation in the rest of the 
Catholic world; and so also the idea that a divorce 
presupposes a delinquent, which is likewise rooted in 
the ascetic tendencies of early Christianity, is un- 
doubtedly doomed. The divorce laws of the different 
Western countries will, no doubt, always vary in details; 
but I think one may safely predict that divorce by 
mutual consent will, sooner or later, be generally 
recognised by them. As we have seen, it has in recent 
years been established in an increasing number of 
countries; and elsewhere it is strongly advocated by 
enlightened opinion, both in Europe and America. 2 
The arguments in favour of it seem unanswerable. 
Milton, for instance, who was its first protagonist in 
Christendom, insisted that " marriage is not a mere 
carnal coition, but a human society "; 3 that the just 
ground for divorce is " indisposition, unfitness, or con- 
trariety of mind, arising from a cause in nature un- 
changeable, hindering, and ever likely to hinder, the 
main benefits of conjugal society, which are solace and 

1 The History of Human Marriage, iii. 357 sqq. 

2 Ellis, and the authorities quoted by him, op. cit. vi. 462 sqq.\ 
E. S. P. Haynes, Divorce as It Might Be (Cambridge, 1915), pp. 4, 5, 
42 sqq.y Ch. Letourneau, The Evolution of Marriage (London, 1891), 
p. 358; A. Forel, Sexuelle Ethik (Miinchen, 1906), p. 23 sq.\ F. E. 
Traumann, ' Ehescheidung ', in M. Marcuse, Handworterbuch der 
Sexualwissenschaft (Bonn, 1923), p. 98; Norman Haire, Hymen or 
the Future of Marriage (London, 1928), p. 61; Lindsey and Evans, 
The Companionate Marriage, p. 379; Russell, op. cit. p. 184 sq. 

3 J. Milton, * The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce ', in The 
Prose Works of, i. (London, 1806), p. 373. 

x DIVORCE 221 

peace ";* and that it is a violent, cruel thing " to force 
the continuing of those together, whom God and nature 
in the gentlest end of marriage never joined ". 2 Dr. 
Lichtenberger observes that " the dissolution of loveless 
marriages now is regarded as less immoral than their 
continuance. The enlightened conscience rebels against 
compulsion in sex relations, regarding it as a species of 
rape as revolting within the marriage bond as it is 
without ". 3 Mr. Shaw makes the acute remark: " To 
impose marriage on two unmarried people who do not 
desire to marry one another would be admittedly an act 
of enslavement. But it is no worse than to impose a 
continuation of marriage on people who have ceased to 
desire to be married ". 4 

Certain objections have been raised to divorce by 
mutual agreement, besides the general one that it would 
make divorce too easy and thereby lessen the " sanctity 
of marriage ". In his evidence before the Royal Com- 
mission, Lord Gorell argued that divorce by mutual 
consent would in practice " probably prove to amount 
to divorce at the will of either party who could make the 
other's life unbearable in order to force a consent ". 5 
A similar objection might be made to the only ground 
of divorce which is now permitted by the law of England: 
it might give rise to the practice of one of the partners 
hectoring the other by adulterous behaviour with a view 
to coercing the latter into suing for a divorce. Another 
argument which has been adduced against divorce by 
mutual agreement is that it might lead to a precipitated 
dissolution of the marriage. Mr. Groves asks: " How 
many of the marriages that have now achieved happi- 
ness would have been dissolved in the early days of 
matrimonial adjustment had there been in the past a 

1 Ibid. i. 347 sq. 2 Ibid. i. 353. 

3 Lichtenberger, op. cit. p. 454 sq. 4 Shaw, op. cit. p. 167. 

5 Royal Commission on Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, Minutes 
of Evidence, Lord GorelPs Evidence, 139. 


social code built upon divorce by mutual consent? J> 
He answers: " No one knows, but men and women of 
experience have estimated that it would have been as 
high as fifty per cent n . 1 (Another opponent of divorce 
by mutual consent writes, on the contrary, that such 
consent to the dissolution of a marriage " is compara- 
tively rare, for it is a matter of human experience that 
one of the partners very often refuses to release the 
other ". 2 ) Precipitation is by no means infrequent 
when a marriage is dissolved on other grounds; many 
divorced couples would perhaps remarry if they did not 
fear it would make them ridiculous. 3 It is just when 
divorce is possible on the ground of mutual consent 
that legislators have taken precautions to prevent a hasty 
step: they have done so in all modern laws which 
recognise such a ground for divorce, particularly by 
requiring previous separation for a certain period, with 
the single exception of the Soviet law. Similar pre- 
cautions may be taken in the future. Lindsey suggests 
that if the couple have children an attempt to reconcile 
them should be made by a commission consisting of a 
psychiatrist, an expert from the medical or allied 
scientific profession, and a lawyer, especially trained in 
psychology and biology. " If it failed, then upon 
mutual announcement of the couple that they still 
wanted a divorce for incompatibility, it would be granted 
because they wanted it ".* I am not very hopeful of 
the success of such interference, and believe that by 
living apart for some time people will best be able to 
judge whether they want to live apart for ever. In 
Stockholm about 75 per cent, of the cases of consensual 

1 E. R. Groves, The Marriage Crisis (New York, etc., 1928), 
p. 136. 

2 R. De Pomerai, Marriage Past Present and Future (London, 
J 93), p. 258. 

3 Cf. Robinson, op. cit. p. 358. 

4 B. B. Lindsey, ' The Companionate Marriage ', in Birth Control 
Review > 1931 (New York), p. 79. 

x DIVORCE 223 

separation end in divorce in spite of the efforts of 
mediators. 1 A great advantage of divorce by mutual 
consent where no delinquency has to be established 
is that it may become as cheap as marriage, as the inter- 
vention of a lawyer should be unnecessary except 
perhaps for settling questions of property. 2 In Soviet 
Russia divorce is free of cost; 3 the clerk who registers it 
may be only a grammar-school graduate. 4 

The suggestion has been made that divorce should 
be obtainable even at the desire of one of the parties, 
either husband or wife, as is nowadays the case in 
Russia, without a probationary period preceding it. 
According to Mr. Shaw, the husband " is to be allowed 
to discard his wife when he is tired of her, and the wife 
the husband when another man strikes her fancy ". 
It does not matter that the other party may wish to 
maintain the marriage: " the same hardship arises 
whenever a man in love proposes marriage to a woman 
and is refused. The refusal is so painful to him that 
he often threatens to kill himself and sometimes even 
does it ". 5 This argument is more witty than adequate: 
marriage may, after all, be reasonably supposed to 
impose upon a man and woman the obligation of show- 
ing greater regard for each other's feelings than can 
be expected in the case of unmarried people. Judge 
Lindsey is of opinion that a childless marriage should be 
dissolvable when only one of the parties wants divorce. 6 
Dr. Schweitzer maintains that at least when there are 
no children the wish of either the husband or the wife to 
dissolve a marriage felt by him or her as an intolerable 
burden should be a sufficient ground for divorce; but 

1 Sonja Branting Westerstahl, ' Vem soker skilsmassa? ' in 
Hertha, xxii. (Stockholm, 1935), p. 89. 

2 Haynes, op. cit. p. 4 sq. 

3 Fannie W. Halle, Die Frau in Sowjetrussland (Berlin, etc., 
1932), p. 194. 

4 Hindus, op. cit. p. 115 sq. 5 Shaw, op. cit. p. 167 sq. 
* ; Lindsey and Evans, The Companionate Marriage, p. 379. 


in order to prevent precipitation the judge should be 
entitled to put off the proceedings even for a consider- 
able time, and some maintenance should be provided for 
the divorced partner. 1 Dr. Rodecurt proposes the dis- 
solubility of a marriage at the desire of one of the 
spouses in all cases where the conjugal life has become 
greatly disturbed. 2 I think it more than probable that 
future laws will very generally admit divorce by the 
will of one party under certain conditions and restric- 
tions. 3 In France it was legal from 1792 to 1804.* The 
present Swiss code contains an admirable clause to the 
effect that, even though none of the specified causes for 
divorce exists, a marriage may be dissolved if there are 
circumstances seriously affecting the maintenance of 
the conjugal tie. 5 

While the changes which the legislation on divorce 
has undergone in recent times have invariably tended to 
make it easier, and there is no progessive movement for 
rendering it more difficult, suggestions to this effect 
have nevertheless been made by various writers in a 
point of vital importance. The suggested changes refer 
to the only universal ground of divorce, and the only 
ground which is recognised by the law of England. 
Judge Lindsey writes: " The view of the Christian 
Church that the mere fact of physical adultery is in 
every case a proper ground for divorce is, to my mind, 
thoroughly immoral. The really proper and moral 
ground for divorce is the fact that the parties of the 
marriage have already been torn apart spiritually. 

1 E. E. Schweitzer, * Die Reform der Ehescheidung ', in A. Weil, 
Sexualreform und Sexualwissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1922), p. 179. 

2 M. Rodecurt, * Reformation des Sexuallebens unserer Zeit ', in 
Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolittk, xviii. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1931), p. 364. 

3 Cf. Ellis, op. cit. vi. 462 sq.\ Forel, op. cit.p. 23 sq.\ Haire, op. 
cit. p. 01. 4 Supra, p. 209 sq. 

5 Schweizerisches Zivilgesetzbuch vom /o. Dezember 1907 (Zurich, 
1912), art. 142. 

x DIVORCE 225 

Divorce is the disrupting of the marriage tie in this 
spiritual sense. Physical infidelity may disturb or 
break down the spiritual bonds of a marriage or it may 
fail to do so; but divorce inevitably destroys the whole 
structure. In this sense, divorce is deadly to marriage". 1 
According to Bertrand Russell, marriage should not be 
expected to exclude other sex relations, there should 
be no interference with mutual freedom in marriage, 
adultery in itself should not be a ground of divorce. 2 
The Rev. A. W. Slaten considers that extra-marital 
sexual intercourse is not a justifiable ground for divorce 
except in cases where it has become chronic. " In- 
fidelity ", he says, " appears to me to be a vastly 
overrated cause for divorce. ... As a matter of fact 
doesn't infidelity usually occur under the flame of 
momentary passion? Need that necessarily imply 
disloyalty? Does it mean that the man has ceased to 
love his wife ? . . . Infidelity has not killed the pleasure 
they found in each other's company, nor affected more 
than temporarily their mutual respect. It is their sense 
of proprietorship that has been outraged ". 3 Mr. Shaw 
thinks that " adultery, far from being the first and only 
ground for divorce, might more reasonably be made the 
last, or wholly excluded ". 4 Dr. Marie Munk doubts 
that it should be retained as an absolute ground of 
divorce; an examination of the circumstances in which 
it was committed may show that the fault does not lie 
with the guilty party alone, and that there is no sufficient 
reason for a dissolution of the marriage. 5 

These suggested changes of the law of divorce may 

1 Lindsey and Evans, The Companionate Marriage, p. 277. 

2 Russell, op. cit. pp. 114. 115, 182. 

3 A. W. Slaten, * Do we need a New Moral Code? ' in The Smart 
Set, Ixxxi. p. 27, quoted by De Pomerai, op. cit. p. 331. 

4 Shaw, op. cit. p. 164. 

5 Marie Munk, ' Der Ehebruch als Ehescheidungsgrund ', in 
Zeitschrift fur Sexualzvissenschaft, xiv. (Berlin & Koln, 1927), p. 
104 sq. 



be called liberal in so far as they give married people 
greater facility to extra-matrimonial connections, but 
on the other hand they deprive them of a right referring 
to such an essential fact of marriage as the relation of 
sexual intercourse. The arguments adduced in support 
of them contain statements the accuracy of which is 
undeniable. In an earlier chapter I have pointed out 
that adultery does not necessarily destroy conjugal love 
or prevent the return of harmonious relations between 
husband and wife; that when it is the juridical ground 
for divorce it is rarely the sole or perhaps even the real 
ground; that the disturbance caused by it may be 
tempered by a more careful consideration of the case; 
and that some reflection may reveal that the apparently 
innocent party is the true cause of it. But at the same 
time everybody must admit that in many cases adultery 
justifies, nay necessitates, a break of the marriage tie. 
Even Bertrand Russell recognises this when he says that 
adultery " is no good ground for divorce, except when 
it involves a deliberate preference for another person, 
on the whole, to the husband or the wife, as the case 
may be "- 1 He does not tell us how a divorce could be 
effected in a case where there is such a good ground for 
it, if adultery ceased to be a legal ground. It might 
perhaps be obtained, without any of those subterfuges 
which he rightly deprecates, if there were a law like the 
Swiss one, according to which a marriage may be 
dissolved under circumstances seriously affecting the 
maintenance of the conjugal tie. But Bertrand Russell 
does not speak of any such ground of divorce; he only 
suggests " divorce by mutual consent in all cases where 
there is not some very definite and demonstrable reason, 
such as insanity, to justify a one-sided desire for 
divorce ". 2 I strongly doubt that any law-court would 
be capable of settling the question whether adultery in 
a given case seriously disturbs the conjugal relations or 
1 Russell, op. at. p. 183. 2 Ibid. p. 185. 

x DIVORCE 227 

not; this is a matter for individual decision. And I 
certainly believe that no divorce law, by leaving out 
adultery as a ground of divorce, will deprive marriage 
of that moderate protection against the interference of 
extra-matrimonial connections with which it has pro- 
vided it ever before. 



SEXUAL behaviour has always been a subject of moral 
judgment; indeed, so much so that when people speak 
of " morality " they think chiefly of sex. To call a man 
" moral " and a woman " virtuous " means that they 
are continent outside of wedlock, although these words 
have other meanings in dictionaries and treatises on 
ethics. There may be various reasons for this. One is 
the influence of the traditional Christian doctrine that 
unchastity is the central sin; another is supposed to be 
the immense preoccupation with sex; l but decency has 
also, undoubtedly, something to do with it. Murder is 
called murder, theft is called theft, dishonesty is called 
dishonesty. But it would be improper to use in polite 
parlance the blunt terms for sexual behaviour; hence 
euphemisms are substituted for them. 

The Christian abhorrence of incontinence is inti- 
mately connected with the idea that sexual intercourse 
is defiling and in certain circumstances a mysterious 
cause of evil. This idea is particularly conspicuous 
with regard to religious observances. It is a common 
rule that he who performs a sacred act or enters a holy 
place must be ceremonially clean, and no kind of 
uncleanness is to be avoided more carefully than sexual 
pollution. We meet with notions of this kind not only 
in Christianity, but also in ancient Egypt, Greece, and 

1 B. B. Lindsey and Wainwright Evans, The Companionate 
Marriage (London, etc., 1928), p. 284; W. Lippmann, A Preface to 
Morals (London, 1929), p. 285 



India, in Hebrewism and Islam. A Mohammedan 
would remove any defiled garment before he commences 
his prayer, or otherwise abstain from prayer altogether; 
he would not dare to approach the sanctuary of a saint 
in a state of sexual uncleanness; and sexual intercourse 
is forbidden to those who make the pilgrimage to 
Mecca. The Christians prescribed strict continence as 
a preparation for baptism and the partaking of the 
Eucharist. They further enjoined that no married 
persons should participate in any of the great festivals 
of the Church if they had lain together the night before; 
and in the Vision of Alberic, dating from the twelfth 
century, a special place of torture, consisting of a lake 
of mingled lead, pitch, and resin, is represented as 
existing in hell for the punishment of married people 
who have had intercourse on Sundays, church festivals, 
or fast- days. And they abstained from the marriage- 
bed at other times also, when they were disposed more 
freely to give themselves to prayer. 1 

Holiness is a delicate quality which is easily destroyed 
if anything polluting comes into contact with the holy 
object or person; and sexual uncleanness is not only 
injurious to holiness, but may also injure holy persons 
or objects in a more positive manner. In self-defence, 
therefore, gods and holy persons try to prevent polluted 
individuals from approaching them, and their worship- 
pers are naturally anxious to do the same. But apart 
from the resentment which the sacred being must feel 
against the defiler, holiness is supposed to react quite 
mechanically against pollution, causing damage to the 
unclean individual, as I have amply shown in my book 
on Ritual and Belief in Morocco. 2 It should further be 
noticed that, owing to the injurious effect of pollution 
on holiness, an act generally regarded as sacred would, 

1 E. Westermarck, The Origin and Development of the Moral 
Ideas, ii. (London, 1917), p. 415 sqq. 

2 Idem, Ritual and Belief in Morocco, i. (London, 1926), p. 230 sqq. 


if performed by an unclean individual, lack that magic 
efficacy which is otherwise attributed to it. Mohammed 
described the ablution which is a necessary preparation 
for prayer as " the half of faith and the key of prayer ". 
The Syrian philosopher Jamblichus speaks of the belief 
that " the gods do not hear him who invokes them, if he 
is impure from venereal connection ". A similar notion 
prevailed among the early Christians: with reference 
to a passage in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 
Tertullian remarks that the Apostle added the recom- 
mendation of a temporary abstinence for the sake of 
adding an efficacy to prayers. 1 

If sexual cleanness is required even of the ordinary 
worshipper, it is all the more indispensable in the case 
of those whose special office is to attend to the sacred 
cult. Carried further, this idea has been a most 
important cause of the obligatory celibacy imposed upon 
the secular and regular clergy; but the religious horror 
of sexual uncleanness has also greatly affected Christian 
ideas relating to marriage and sexual relations in general. 
St. Paul's declaration that celibacy is preferable to 
marriage, and other passages in the New Testament, 
inspired a great enthusiasm for virginity. Commenting 
on the words of the Apostle, Tertullian points out that 
although it is better to marry than to burn, it is far 
better neither to marry nor to burn. Marriage " con- 
sists of that which is the essence of fornication "; 
whereas continence " is a means whereby a man will 
traffic in a mighty substance of sanctity ". Virginity 
works miracles: Mary, the sister of Moses, leading the 
female band, passed on foot over the straits of the sea, 
and by the same grace Thecla was reverenced even by 
lions, so that the unfed beasts, lying at the feet of their 
prey, underwent a holy fast, neither with wanton look 
nor sharp claw venturing to harm the virgin. Virginity 
is like a spring flower always softly exhaling immortality 

1 The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas y ii. 417 sqq. 


from its white petals. The Lord Himself opens the 
kingdoms of the heavens to eunuchs. If Adam had 
preserved his obedience to the Creator he would have 
lived for ever in a state of virgin purity, and some 
harmless mode of vegetation would have peopled 
paradise with a race of innocent and immortal beings. 
This opinion was held by Gregory of Nyssa and, in a 
later time, by John of Damascus; but it was opposed by 
Thomas Aquinas, who maintained that the human race 
was from the beginning propagated by means of sexual 
intercourse, though such intercourse was originally free 
from all carnal desire. 1 

While marriage, though inferior to celibacy, had to 
be tolerated as necessary for the continuance of man- 
kind, all other forms of sexual intercourse were pro- 
nounced by the Church to be mortal sins. In her 
Penitentials sins of unchastity were the favourite topic; 
and her abhorrence of them finds an echo in the secular 
legislation of the first Christian emperors. Panders 
were condemned to have molten lead poured down their 
throats. In the case of forcible seduction both the 
man and the woman, if she consented to the act, were 
put to death. As said above, even the innocent off- 
spring of illicit intercourse were punished for their 
parents' sins with ignominy and loss of certain civil 
rights. Persons of different sex who were not united 
in wedlock were forbidden by the Church to kiss 
each other. The sexual desire itself, though unaccom- 
panied with any external act, was regarded as sinful in 
the unmarried. 2 

In order to explain in full the ascetic attitude of 
Christianity towards sex, we have still to answer the 
important question why sexual intercourse is looked 
upon as unclean and defiling, or, in other words, as a 
mysterious source of danger. That the danger is 
supposed to be particularly alarming in the case of 

1 Ibid. ii. 410 sq. 2 Ibid. ii. 431 sq. 


contact between the polluted individual and anything 
holy is merely an instance of the general belief that 
holiness is exceedingly sensitive to, and readily reacts 
against, external influences; indeed, it is not only 
exceptionally susceptible to influences that are, or are 
supposed to be, injurious in other cases as well, but it is 
even affected or influenced by various acts or omissions 
which are otherwise considered perfectly harmless. 1 It 
should be noticed that the mere discharge of sexual 
matter is held to be polluting: the Penitentials prescribe 
that nightly pollutions, even when unaccompanied with 
any sexual desire, must be atoned for by the singing of 
a certain number of psalms. 2 It seems that the pol- 
luting effect attributed to the discharge of such matter 
is largely due to its mysterious propensities and the veil 
of mystery which surrounds the whole sexual nature of 
man. There is, moreover, the secrecy drawn over the 
sexual functions, and the feeling of sexual shame, which 
give them the appearance of something illicit and sinful. 
But the defiling effects ascribed to sexual intercourse are 
also, no doubt, connected with the notion that woman is 
an unclean being. Particularly during menstruation and 
childbirth she is supposed to be charged with mysterious 
baleful energy, presumably on account of the marvellous 
nature of these processes and especially the appearance 
of blood; and such frequent temporary defilement of a 
specifically feminine character may easily lead to the 
notion of the permanent uncleanness of the female sex. 
It is strange to think that such crude notions have 
for ages exercised a dominant influence upon the moral 
attitude towards sex behaviour in Western civilisation. 
While the original notions have vanished, they have left 
behind feelings and views which, however irrational, 
have survived more or less even to the present day. 

1 Ritual and Belief in Morocco, i. 250 sqq. 

2 F. W. H. Wasserschleben, Die Bussordnungen der abend- 
Itindischen Kirche (Halle, 1851), pp. 559, 560, 600. 


They are embedded in the traditional moral code, in 
which they may persist though divested of all religious 
sanction; and there they are mingled with the results 
of tendencies that have been ever active in the moulding 
of the moral consciousness independently of religious 
or superstitious ideas. When speculating on moral 
opinions about sexual conduct in the future it is necessary 
to examine in detail the nature of those tendencies. 
This is a task of the utmost importance, because there 
are fundamental differences among them which have 
seldom been clearly recognised. I must therefore tax 
the reader's patience by delineating briefly the essential 
facts of the moral consciousness, as I apprehend them. 
I have in earlier works endeavoured to prove that the 
predicates of all moral judgments, all moral concepts, 
are ultimately based on one or the other of the two 
moral emotions, moral disapproval or moral approval. 
They are retributive emotions. Moral disapproval is a 
kind of resentment, that is, a hostile attitude of mind 
towards a living being (or something taken for a living 
being) conceived as a cause of inflicted pain; moral 
approval is a retributive kindly emotion, that is, a 
friendly attitude of mind towards such a being conceived 
as a cause of pleasure. They are related to other kinds 
of resentment or retributive kindly emotion: moral 
disapproval to anger and the feeling of revenge, and 
moral approval to gratitude. But the moral emotions 
differ from those non-moral retributive emotions by 
being disinterested and, at least within certain limits, 
impartial. If someone inflicts an injury upon me, or 
upon a friend of mine, and I feel indignant at it, my 
indignation can be called a moral emotion only if it is 
felt independently of the fact that it was I or my friend 
who was hurt; it must be possible to assume that I 
should have experienced the same emotion if another 
similar person in similar circumstances had been sub- 
jected to the same treatment. Otherwise my emotion 


of resentment would have been not moral disapproval 
but personal anger. So also, the kindly emotion I feel 
for a benefactor can be called moral approval only on 
condition that it is disinterested and impartial; other- 
wise it would be personal gratitude. 

That disinterestedness and impartiality have become 
characteristics of those retributive emotions which we 
call moral emotions, is due to the fact that society was 
the birth-place of the moral consciousness. The first 
moral judgments expressed, not the private emotions of 
isolated individuals, but emotions felt by society at 
large. Tribal custom was the earliest rule of duty; the 
word " morality " comes from mos, the German 
Sittlichkeit from Sitte. Custom is fixed once for all, 
and admits of no personal preferences. It is equally 
binding for me and for you and for all other members of 
the society. A breach of it is equally wrong that is, 
has the same tendency to arouse general indignation 
whether I myself am immediately affected by the act or 
not; this implies disinterestedness. So also the con- 
demnation of it is independent of the relationship in 
which the parties concerned in it stand to me personally; 
this implies impartiality in a larger sense. Custom is a 
moral rule only on account of the disapproval called 
forth by its transgression. In its ethical aspect it is 
nothing but a generalisation of emotional tendencies, 
applied to certain modes of conduct and transmitted 
from generation to generation. 

We may distinguish between different classes of con- 
ditions under which disinterested retributive emotions 
arise. In the first place, we may feel such emotions on 
account of an injury inflicted, or a benefit conferred, 
upon another individual with whose pain, or pleasure, 
we sympathise and in whose welfare our altruistic 
sentiments cause us to take a kindly interest. For our 
present purpose it is sufficient to consider disinterested 
resentment alone. It is not only universal in mankind 


its scope varying with the scope of the altruistic 
sentiments but it is also found among those of the 
lower animals that possess such sentiments. A mam- 
malian mother is as hostile to the enemy of her young as 
to her own enemy. Social animals defend members of 
their own group, which evidently involves some degree 
of sympathetic anger. The dog who flies at any one 
who strikes, or even touches, his master is a very 
familiar instance of sympathetic resentment. 

While disinterested resentment may thus be felt in 
consequence of an injury inflicted upon another indi- 
vidual as a reaction against sympathetic pain, it may 
also be directly produced by the cognition of the signs 
of resentment. We are told that " among bees, ants, 
and termites signs of anger by one individual may 
awaken the whole community to a high pitch of ex- 
citement ".* A group of the captive chimpanzees 
studied by Professor Kohler might be thrown into a 
state of blind fury by the angry cries of one of its 
members, " even when the majority of its members have 
seen nothing of what caused the first cry, and have no 
notion of what it is all about ". 2 When the yells and 
shrieks of a street dog-fight are heard, dogs from all 
sides rush to the spot, each dog apparently ready to bite 
any of the others. So, too, in an infuriated crowd of 
men one gets angry because the other is angry, and 
often the question, Why? is hardly asked. This form 
of disinterested resentment is of great importance both 
as an originator and, especially, as a communicator of 
moral ideas; it is, in fact, the main foundation of moral 
tradition. Men are inclined to sympathise with the 
resentment of persons for whom they feel regard; hence 
an act which, though harmless by itself, is forbidden by 
God and man may be not only professed but actually 

1 S. J. Holmes, The Evolution of Animal Intelligence (New York, 
1911), p. 209. 

2 W. Kohler, The Mentality of Apes (London, 1927), p. 288. 


felt to be wrong. The punishment inflicted by society, 
which as a rule is an expression of its moral indignation, 
may also, by arousing such a feeling, lead to the idea 
that the victim deserves to be punished. Children, as 
everybody knows, grow up with their ideas of right and 
wrong graduated, to a great extent, according to the 
temper of the father or mother; and men are not seldom, 
as Hobbes said, " like little children, that have no other 
rule of good and evill manners, but the correction they 
receive from their Parents, and Masters ".* Any means 
of expressing resentment may serve as a communicator 
of the emotion. Besides punishment, language deserves 
special mention. Moral disapproval may be evoked by 
the very sounds of words like " murder ", " theft ", 
" cowardice ", and many terms for sexual behaviour, 
which not merely indicate a certain mode of conduct, 
but also express the opprobrium attached to it. 

There is yet a third way in which disinterested 
resentment may arise. In many cases people feel 
hostile to a person who inflicts no injury upon anybody. 
There are in the human mind what Bain called " dis- 
interested antipathies ", or sentimental aversions, " of 
which our fellow-beings are the subjects, and on account 
of which we overlook our own interest quite as much as 
in displaying our sympathies and affections ". 2 Differ- 
ences of taste, habit, and opinion easily create such 
dislikes; and these, too, have played a prominent part 
in the formation of moral ideas. The antipathy which 
is so commonly felt against anything unusual, new, or 
foreign, may lead to the idea that it is wrong; and when 
a certain act, which does no harm apart from the 
painful impression it makes on the spectator fills 
people with disgust or horror, they may feel no less 
hostile to the agent than if he had committed an offence 
against person, property, or good name. Such resent- 

1 T. Hobbes, Leviathan, i. n (Oxford, 1881), p. 76. 
2 A, Bain, The Emotions and the Will (London, 1880), p. 268. 


ment may also arise from the observation of the feelings 
of others. As Abraham Tucker said, " we grow to love 
things we perceive them fond of, and contract aversions 
from their dislikes ".* 

All these ways in which disinterested resentment 
may arise have led to moral judgments on sexual 
behaviour; but all of them do not form an equally solid 
basis for the judgments to which they have led. The 
disinterested resentment felt in consequence of an 
injury inflicted upon another individual as a reaction 
against sympathetic pain, is largely at the bottom of the 
utilitarian theory of morality, according to which actions 
are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness 
and wrong in proportion as they tend to produce the 
reverse of happiness. As I have pointed out elsewhere, 
the origin of utilitarianism may thus be traced to the 
nature of the moral emotions, although its propounders 
have tried, in vain, to prove its objective validity either 
by rational arguments or by appealing to self-evident 
moral intuitions; but the utilitarian doctrine also con- 
tains assertions to which those emotions give no 
support. 2 With reference to sexual behaviour every- 
body is, to some extent, influenced by utilitarian 
considerations. Even those who declare that the 
sexual act as such has no more concern with morality 
than any other private physiological act, admit, for 
example, that it is wrong to commit a rape or to infect 
another person with venereal disease. Although all 
moral judgments are ultimately based on emotions, the 
influence that intellectual factors exercise upon such 
judgments is very great indeed; emotions are deter- 
mined by cognitions, and differ in nature or strength 
according as the cognitions differ. Hence utilitarian 
considerations are apt to assume greater importance in 

1 A. Tucker, The Light of Nature Pursued, i. (London, 1840), 

P- I 54- 

2 E. Westermarck, Ethical Relativity (London, 1932), p. 227 sqq. 


proportion as moral judgments are influenced by 
reflection and knowledge of facts. 

In judging of matters relating to sexual morality 
men have generally made little use of their reason and 
been guilty of much thoughtless cruelty. Although 
marriage has come into existence solely for the sake 
of the offspring, it happens only too seldom that in 
sexual relations sufficient thought is bestowed upon 
unborn individuals. Legal provisions in favour of il- 
legitimate children have made men somewhat more care- 
ful, for their own sake, but they have also nourished the 
idea that the responsibility of fatherhood may be bought 
off by the small sum the man has to pay for the support 
of his natural child unless he be exempted even from 
this duty. Moreover, people are only now beginning 
to feel that many persons are wholly unfit for bringing 
into existence a new individual who is most probably 
doomed to a miserable life, or to an early death, on 
account of taints, physical or moral, inherited from 
his parents. As noticed above, the Roman Catholic 
Church still persists in forbidding the use of contra- 
ceptives under any circumstances whatsoever. Future 
generations will probably with a kind of horror look 
back at a period when the most important, and in its 
consequences the most far-reaching, function which 
has fallen to the lot of man was entirely left to individual 
caprice and lust. 

While moral judgments that are based on dis- 
interested resentment felt sympathetically in conse- 
quence of an injury inflicted upon another individual, 
assume greater importance the more moral valuation is 
influenced by reflection and knowledge of facts, the very 
reverse is the case with judgments that spring from 
disinterested resentment directly produced by the 
cognitions of signs of resentment in others. Such 
disinterested resentment makes moral tradition, with 
its claim to authority, a source of moral judgments 


independently of their original causes. These causes 
may have been ignorance, superstition, prejudice, or 
sheer selfishness in those who once laid down the rules 
of conduct, and their prescriptions may nevertheless be 
indiscriminately and thoughtlessly accepted by suc- 
ceeding generations. Among civilised peoples there is 
in such cases a frequent tendency to make antiquated 
opinions more acceptable by substituting new reasons 
for them; the arguments adduced against the most 
desirable changes of existing divorce laws are evidence 
of this. Of course, moral tradition also embodies 
judgments of past generations that nobody could find 
fault with; but in a progressive society some criticism of 
the old standards is unavoidable. If guided by correct 
utilitarian considerations it is likely to pave the way for 
a new tradition; if inspired by an uncritical spirit of 
revolt it is doomed to failure. This is, in my opinion, 
what we nowadays find within the sphere of sex in 
certain quarters where marriage and the family are 
declared to be bankrupt and an altogether new morality 
is proclaimed the successor of the old. 

Moral tradition in the matter of sex is particularly 
loaded with opinions springing from " disinterested 
antipathies " or sentimental aversions, which in no 
branch of morality have been allowed a greater scope 
than here. Generally speaking, such aversions are 
largely responsible for that divergence which exists 
between actual moral ideas and a consistently utilitarian 
code of morality. But instead of recognising this 
divergence, moralists have only too often disguised it 
by advancing utilitarian pretexts for sentimental re- 
quirements, and have thereby missed an opportunity 
to act as moral educators. It is a strong point in 
consistent utilitarianism that it cannot accept such 
requirements on their own merits. There is a pro- 
found psychological reason for this. Although the 
origin of instinctive aversions, which are still more or 


less generally felt, may be sought for in their specific 
usefulness, civilisation has brought about changed 
conditions so far removed from the state of nature that 
such feelings can by no means serve as utilitarian 
criteria of morality. If we clearly realise that a certain 
act is productive of no other harm but the aversion or 
disgust it causes, we can hardly look upon it as a proper 
object of moral censure, provided that the agent has not 
in an indelicate manner shocked anybody's feelings. 
When sufficiently discriminating, resentment, whether 
moral disapproval or non-moral anger, is too much 
concerned with the will of the agent to be felt towards a 
person who obviously neither intends to offend anyone 
nor is guilty of culpable oversight. Even when the 
person knows that his behaviour is repulsive to others, 
he may, on utilitarian grounds, be considered justified 
in acting as he does; some degree of reflection should 
lead to the thought that antipathies are no sufficient 
ground for interfering with other individuals' liberty of 
action either by punishing them or subjecting them 
to moral censure. Nobody has more powerfully de- 
nounced such interference than John Stuart Mill. He 
insisted on " liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing 
the plan of our life to suit our own character; of doing 
as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow: 
without impediment from our fellow-creatures, so long 
as what we do does not harm them, even though they 
should think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong ".* 
He has not supported this opinion by any reference to 
the nature of moral resentment, but it is nevertheless a 
discriminating result of this emotion. So also Bain 
wrote: " When one man endeavours to impose his 
likings or dislikes upon another, or when a mere senti- 
mental preference entertained by the majority is made 
the law for every one, there is a very serious in- 
fringement of individual freedom on the one hand, 
1 J. S. Mill, On Liberty (London, 1859), P z & 5 Q* 


with nothing legitimate to set against it in the way of 
advantage 'V 

In moral judgments relating to sexual intercourse 
between unmarried persons sexual aversions play a 
prominent part. The clemency with which the seducer 
of a girl is judged by public opinion contrasts strikingly 
with the moral condemnation of his victim. Never- 
theless, his behaviour may inflict a very serious injury 
upon the girl, whereas hers is condemned simply on 
account of the aversion it calls forth. Even some very 
judicious and open-minded writers on sex seem to have 
been unable to free themselves entirely from the in- 
fluence of such sentimental dislikes. Though declaring 
that sexual relations which do not lead to the production 
of offspring are a purely personal matter concerning 
nobody but the parties themselves, they speak with 
moral disapproval of persons who marry for money, as 
well as of women who sell themselves for a night; 2 and 
even a radical like Dr. Borgius regards it as an axiom 
of sexual ethics that coitus without love is immoral. 3 
Bertrand Russell observes that " prostitution is open 
to three grave objections: first, the danger to the health 
of the community; second, the psychological damage to 
women; and third, the psychological damage to men ". 4 
If the prostitute knowingly communicates venereal 
infection to her male customer she is of course morally 
blamable for it; but the psychological damage she may 
do either to him or herself is certainly not the cause of 
the stigma attaching to her. The cause of it is simply 
the feeling of disgust. 

Sentimental aversions play a predominant role in 
the condemnation of the so-called sexual perversions. 
Auto-erotism, or self-abuse, is considered the mildest 

1 Bain, op. cit. p. 279. 2 See supra, p. 35. 

3 W. Borgius, * Ehereform? * in Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft 
und Sexualpolitik, xv. (Berlin & Koln, 1928), p. 389. 

4 B. Russell, Marriage and Morals (London, 1929), p. 119. 



of them. In the Penitentials of the Roman Catholic 
Church, however, the amount of concern with it is 
more marked than with any other form of sexual be- 
haviour. Omitting the chapters of discipline that apply 
specifically to the clergy, self-abuse was the subject of 
numerous paragraphs in them. With infinite care the 
varieties of the offence were differentiated, the persons 
by whom it was committed, their age, their station lay 
or clerical and dignity, the place where it was com- 
mitted, and the thoughts connected with the com- 
mission. For a layman the penance ascribed was 
usually forty days; for the clergy it was severe according 
to the rank of the offender. Later theologians, in- 
cluding Thomas Aquinas, condemned the offence as 
worse than fornication. 1 In England the Penitentials 
were not only a part of the ecclesiastical discipline, but 
also a part of the Anglo-Saxon law; but since then law 
has taken no notice of self-abuse. Both its privacy 
and its frequency, and the attitude of public opinion 
towards it, would make it a very unsuitable object 
for criminal legislation. In the United States, Dr. 
Katharine B. Davis, General Secretary of the Bureau 
of Social Hygiene, found that more than 60 per cent, of 
1000 college women whose ages ranged from 22 to 69 
years gave a history of self-abuse. 2 Similar investiga- 
tions of those who have studied the sex lives of men 
tend to show that this habit is at least as frequent 
among men as it is among women. Dr. Hamilton 
found that 97 of the 100 men and 74 of the 100 women 
who answered his questions had masturbated at some 
time or other in their lives after they were old enough 
to remember it; and his studies led him to believe that 
self-abuse is very common even among married people, 

1 G. May, Social Control of Sex Expression (London, 1930), 
p. 65 sq. 

2 Katharine B. Davis, Factors in the Sex Life of Twenty-two 
Hundred Women (New York & London, 1929), p. 101. 


since only 17 of the men and 42 of the women could 
categorically deny that they had masturbated since 
marriage. 1 Of those female students at the University 
of Moscow whose answers to questionnaires distributee! 
a few years before the war have been preserved, some- 
what more than one-half had indulged in self-abuse for 
shorter or longer periods. 2 In recent times, at least, 
masturbation has attracted much more attention from 
the medical than from the moral point of view. The 
prevalent opinion nowadays is that its injuriousness 
to health has been very much exaggerated by earlier 
writers; the statement made by an American free-love 
enthusiast to the effect that " in a great number of 
cases, as every psychiatrician will testify, its effects have 
been devastating and pernicious ", 3 seems to me far 
from unbiassed. From the moral point of view self- 
abuse is called rather " disgusting " than immoral. But 
in the Mohammedan world a more serious view is 
taken of it. Masturbation is there considered more re- 
prehensible than pederasty and bestiality; according to 
a Moorish proverb it is equivalent to sexual intercourse 
with one's own mother. 

As regards bestiality European legislation has been 
swayed by the Mosaic ordinance that in the case of 
sexual intercourse between a man, or woman, and a 
beast which was evidently supposed to be productive 
of offspring the human offender and the beast as well 
are to be put to death; 4 in England the temporal 
law made it felony. 5 Moral philosophy has also had 

1 G. V. Hamilton, A Research in Marriage (New York, 1929), 

PP- 42, 4*7 43 6 539- 

2 S. Weissenberg, * Das Geschlechtsleben der russischen 
Studentinnen ', in Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft, xi. (Bonn, 1924), 

P- J 3- 

3 V. F. Calverton, The Bankruptcy of Marriage (London, 1931), 

p. 151. 

4 Exodus, xxi. 28 sq.\ Leviticus, xx. 15 sq. 

5 May, op. cit. p. 136. 


something to say on the subject: according to Kant it 
is a categorical imperative of practical reason that the 
man whose offence has reduced him to the level of an 
animal should be expelled from civil society and de- 
prived of human rights, as he is unworthy to be treated 
as a human being. 1 Kant represents this as a deduction 
from the general principle of requital (jus talionis) 
which, if the punishment cannot be exactly equivalent 
to the crime, requires equivalence according to the 
spirit of the law. That principle, however, has ob- 
viously not a rational, but an entirely emotional founda- 
tion; and the same is the case with the moral con- 
demnation of bestiality, if unaffected by religion or 
superstition: it is considered immoral because it causes 
disgust. It is therefore an opinion which is nowa- 
days gaining ground that it should not be punished 
at all. 2 In Mohammedan countries it is not looked 
upon in the same light as among ourselves. In 
Morocco, where bestiality is by no means infrequent, 
it is sometimes practised for medicinal and prophy- 
lactic purposes, for instance as a safeguard against 
imprisonment; otherwise it is, in the case of grown-up 
men, to some extent despised but chiefly ridiculed. 3 
I was told by a group of mountaineers that a person 
who has intercourse with another man's animal has to 
buy for it new shoes, a new pack-saddle, and new 
panniers, must feed it for a day, and if it becomes 

1 Kant, Metaphysische Anfangungsgrunde der Rechtslehre, Anhang 
(Gesammelte Schriften, vi. [Berlin, 1914], p. 363). 

2 F. Dehnow, ' Sittlichkeitsdelikte und Strafrechtsreform ', in 
A. Weil, Sexualreform und Sexualwissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1922), p. 
165; ' Resolution betreffend Sexualstraf reform ', ibid. p. 186; 
H. Haustein, * Strafrecht und Sodomie vor 2 Jahrhunderten *, in 
Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, xvii. (Berlin & 
Koln, 1930), p. 98; A. Forel, Die Sexuelle Frage (Miinchen, 1931), 
p. 428. 

3 See my books, Ritual and Belief in Morocco, ii. 289, and Wit 
and Wisdom in Morocco (London, 1930), p. 87 sq. 


ill, will have to pay its price. When I then asked what 
would happen if the animal was his own, the answer 
was, amidst much laughter, " Why should not a man 
be allowed to do with his animal whatever he likes? " 

There is another kind of abnormal sex behaviour to 
which the public attitude in Christian civilisation has 
been determined by ancient Hebrew ideas, namely, 
homosexual intercourse between men. According to 
the Old Testament, unnatural sins were not allowed 
to defile the land of the Lord: whosoever should com- 
mit such abominations should be put to death. The 
enormous abhorrence of them expressed in this law 
had a very specific reason, the Hebrews' hatred of a 
foreign cult. Unnatural vice was the sin of a people 
who was not the Lord's people, the Canaanites, who 
thereby polluted their land, so that He visited their 
guilt and the land spued out its inhabitants. We know 
that sodomy entered as an element in their religion: 
besides female temple prostitutes there were male 
prostitutes, qedeshim, attached to their temples. I have 
made the suggestion that the sodomitic acts committed 
with the latter, as well as with the female prostitutes, 
had in view to transfer blessings to the worshippers; in 
Morocco supernatural benefits are to this day expected 
not only from heterosexual, but also from homosexual 
intercourse with a holy person. The qedeshim are 
frequently alluded to in the Old Testament, especially 
in the period of monarchy, when rites of a foreign 
origin made their way both into Israel and Judah. And 
it is natural that the Yahveh worshippers should regard 
their practices with the utmost horror as forming part 
of an idolatrous cult. 1 

This horror of homosexuality passed into Christi- 
anity. The notion that sodomy is a form of sacrilege 
was here strengthened by the habits of the gentiles, 

1 The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas > ii. 480, 
487 sq. 


among whom St. Paul found the abominations of Sodom 
rampant. He denounced them as the climax of the 
moral corruption to which God gave the heathen 
because of their apostasy from him. Tertullian says 
that they are banished " not only from the threshold, 
but from all shelter of the church, because they are not 
sins, but monstrosities ". St. Basil maintains that they 
deserve the same punishment as murder, idolatry, and 
witchcraft. According to a decree of the Council of 
Elvira, those who abuse boys to satisfy their lusts are 
denied communion even at their last hour. 1 During 
the Middle Ages heretics were accused of unnatural 
vice as a matter of course. Indeed so closely was 
sodomy associated with heresy that the same name was 
applied to both. Thus the French bougre (from the 
Latin Bulgarus, Bulgarian), to which there is an 
English equivalent, was originally a name given to a 
sect of heretics who came from Bulgaria in the eleventh 
century, and was afterwards applied to other heretics; 
but at the same time it became the regular expression 
for a sodomite. In mediaeval laws sodomy was re- 
peatedly mentioned together with heresy, and the 
punishment was the same for both. 2 Throughout the 
Middle Ages and later, Christian lawyers thought that 
nothing but a painful death in the flames could atone 
for the sinful act. In France persons were actually 
burned for it in the middle and latter part of the 
eighteenth century. In England it was punishable by 
death till 1861, although in practice the extreme 
punishment was not inflicted. 3 It is interesting to 
notice that in one other religion, besides Hebrewism 
and Christianity, it has been looked upon with the same 
abhorrence, namely, Zoroastrianism, and there also as 
a practice of infidels, of Turanian shamanists. 4 

1 The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, ii, 480. 

2 Ibid. ii. 489. 3 Ibid. ii. 481 sq. 
4 Ibid. ii. 479, 480, 486 sq. 


Where no such religious influence has been operative, 
the moral attitude towards homosexual practices has 
been very different. Among uncivilised peoples they 
are generally taken little notice of; they may be a subject 
for derision or contemptuous remarks, wounding the 
vanity of the delinquent by the implication that he 
must be unable to procure the full natural enjoyment 
of his impulse if he has to resort to such substitutes. 1 
Chinese law makes little distinction between unnatural 
and other sexual offences; but as a matter of fact the 
former are regarded as less hurtful to the community 
than ordinary immorality. In Japan there was no law 
against homosexual intercourse till the revolution of 
1868, and we are told that in the period of Japanese 
chivalry it was considered more heroic if a man loved 
a person of his own sex than if he loved a woman. 
Mohammed forbade sodomy, and the general theory of 
his followers is that it should be punished like fornica- 
tion; but in the Mohammedan world it is practically 
regarded, at most, as a mere peccadillo. The Hindus 
hold a more serious opinion about it, but their sacred 
books deal with it leniently; according to the laws of 
Manu, " a twice-born man who commits an unnatural 
offence with a male . . . shall bathe, dressed in his 
clothes ". The laws of the ancient Scandinavians ig- 
nored homosexual practices, though passive pederasts 
were much despised by them, being identified with 
cowards and regarded as sorcerers. In ancient Greece 
pederasty in its baser forms was censured, though 
generally, it seems, with no great severity; but the 
universal rule was apparently that when decorum was 
observed in the friendship between a man and a youth, 
no inquiries were made into the details of the relation- 
ship. And this attachment was not only regarded as 

1 See e.g. B. Malinowski, The Sexual Life of Savages in North- 
Western Melanesia (London, 1929), p. 395; Margaret Mead, Growing 
up in New Guinea (New York, 1930), p. 166. 


permissible, but was praised as the highest form of love, 
as the offspring of the heavenly Aphrodite, as a path 
leading to virtue, as a weapon against tyranny, as a 
safeguard of civic liberty, as a source of national 
greatness and glory. In Rome there was an old law of 
unknown date which imposed a mulct on him who 
committed pederasty with a free person; but this law, 
of which very little is known, had lain dormant for ages, 
and the subject of ordinary homosexual intercourse 
never afterwards attracted the attention of legislators, 
until Christianity became the religion of the Roman 
Empire. 1 

In Christian Europe the rationalistic movement of 
the eighteenth century brought about a change in the 
attitude towards homosexual practices. To punish 
sodomy with death, it was said, is atrocious; when 
unconnected with violence, the law ought to take no 
notice of it at all. It does not violate any other person's 
right, its influence on society is merely indirect, like 
that of drunkenness and free love; it is a disgusting 
vice, but its only proper punishment is contempt. 2 
This view was adopted by the French Code pdnal, ac- 
cording to which homosexual practices in private, 
between two consenting adult parties, whether men or 
women, are absolutely unpunished. The homosexual 
act is treated as a crime only when it implies an outrage 
on public decency, or when there is violence or absence 
of consent, or when one of the parties is under age or 
unable to give valid consent. 3 This method of dealing 
with homosexuality has been followed especially by the 
legislators of the other Latin countries in Europe and 

1 The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, ii. 474 sqq. 

2 Note of the Editors of Kehl's edition of Voltaire's * Prix de la 
justice et de Thumanite ', in (Euvres computes, v. (Paris, 1837), p. 
437 n. 2. 

3 Code phial, art. 330 sqq. Cf. ]. Chevalier, U Inversion sexuelle 
(Lyon & Paris, 1893), p. 431 sqq.; Havelock Ellis, Studies in the 
Psychology of Sex, ii. (Philadelphia, 1915), p. 347 sq. 


America (except Chile), as well as Russia; 1 and in other 
countries, where the law treats the act in question per se 
as a penal offence, notably in Germany, a vigorous 
propaganda in favour of its alteration is carried on with 
the support of many men of scientific eminence. 

It is argued that the deterring effect of the law must 
be very slight; this may be inferred not only from the 
great prevalence of homosexual practices in countries 
where they are punishable offences, but also from the 
fact that they are not conspicuously more prevalent in 
those European countries where the law takes no notice 
of them; the French call them " le vice allemand ". 2 
That the punishment could exercise a reformatory 
influence upon the offender by changing the nature of 
his sexual desire, is entirely out of the question. 3 Nor 
is it in the least likely to repress its gratification by 
engendering moral scruples; the prohibition may on 
the contrary, as in the case of drink, stimulate the 
desire. 4 Moreover, when homosexuality is made a 
legal crime the door is opened wide to blackmailers a 
very serious objection. 5 The answer to this criticism 
has been that " the sound feelings of the people " insist 
on punishing the offence. 6 It has also been argued 
that if homosexual practices are punished when com- 
mitted by men, they should likewise be punished when 

1 K. Killer, * Recht und sexuelle Minderheiten ', in Weil, op. cit. 
p. 169. 

2 Hiller, loc. cit. p. 172. According to Ellis (op. cit. ii. 350 sq.) 
homosexuality abounds perhaps to a much greater extent in Germany 
than in France. 

3 A. Moll, Die Contrdre Sexualempfindung (Berlin, 1891), p. 
235 sq. 

4 C. Muller-Braunschweig, ' Psychoanalyse und Sexualreform ', 
in Weil, op. cit. p. 144. I know a man with homosexual habits 
who declared that he would be sorry to see the English law changed, 
as then the practice would lose its charm. Ellis (op. cit, ii. 351 n. 2) 
mentions a similar case. 

5 See e.g. Haustein, loc. cit. p. 98 sq. 

6 Hiller, loc. cit. p. 170. 


committed by women. This is actually the case in 
Austria, but a proposal to the same effect which was 
made in Germany was rejected. 1 For various reasons the 
sexual abnormalities of women have attracted much less 
attention than those of men. Theodore's Penitential in 
the seventh century assigned a penance of three years 
to " a woman fornicating with a woman "; 2 but this 
was much less than that prescribed for male homosexual 
practices. 3 We should remember that the Canaanite 
atrocities were perpetrated by men. 

Various attempts have been made by philosophers to 
explain the guilt attached to masculine homosexuality. 
Kant looks upon it as a pollution of human dignity, 4 and 
finds that the categorical imperative of practical reason 
prescribes castration as its punishment. 5 Schopen- 
hauer gives highly metaphysical explanations, connected 
with his general theory of the will, both of the homo- 
sexual desire and of the condemnation of pederasty; 6 
but in one of his works he simply says that the wrong- 
ness of the latter lies in the seduction of the younger 
and inexperienced party, who is thereby ruined both 
physically and morally. 7 He does not raise the ques- 
tion whether the seduction of a youth is fraught with 
so much more terrible consequences than that of a girl 

1 Moll, op. cit. p. 241 n.; Zeitschrift fiir Sexualwissenschaft, ii. 
(Bonn, 1915), p. ii sq.\ vii. (1921), p. 112. 

2 Theodore, Pccnitentiale, i. 2. 12 ; in Wasserschleben, op. cit. 
p. 186. 

3 Theodore, op. cit. i. 2. 5; in Wasserschleben, op. cit. p. 185. 

4 Kant, Metaphysische Anfangungsgriinde der Tugendlehre, 7 
(Gesamtnelte Schriften, vi. [Berlin, 1914]), p. 425. 

5 Idem, Metaphysische Anfangungsgriinde der Rechtslehre, Anhang 
(Gesammelte Schriften, vi. 363). 

6 Schopenhauer, Die Welt ah Wille und Vorstellung, ii. (Sdmmt- 
liche Werke, iii. [Leipzig, 1916]), p. 646 sqq.\ idem, Parerga und 
Paralipomena, ii. (Sammtliche Werke, vi. [Leipzig, 1916]), 168, 

P- 34- 

7 Idem, Die Grundlage der Moral, 5 (Sammtliche Werke, iv. 2 
[Leipzig, 1916], p. 128 sq.). 


as to justify the enormous difference in the treatment 
of the seducer. Professor McDougall also condemns 
the practice on utilitarian grounds. He writes: " The 
strong condemnation of pederasty which is common to 
most of the higher civilisations is entirely justifiable. . . . 
If sexual inversion were always and only a purely 
innate peculiarity, there would be much to be said on 
the side of those who plead for individual freedom in 
this matter. But, so far from this being the case, it 
seems to be clearly proved that the example and in- 
flufence of sexual perverts may and actually does 
determine the perversion of many individuals who, if 
shielded from such influences, would develop in a 
normal manner. This being so, it follows that the 
social approval of homosexuality or of pederasty (even 
in its milder and less ignoble forms) tends to set up a 
vicious circle, the operation of which misdirects the 
sex impulse of increasing numbers of the successive 
generations, and therefore (as in ancient Greece) tends 
to the decay of the normal relations between the sexes 
and to the destruction of the society which has taken 
this false step ".* 

There is no doubt that inversion which implies that 
the person for the gratification of his sexual desire 
actually prefers his own sex to the opposite one may 
be the result of very early habits. When I wrote 
the chapter on homosexual love in my book The Origin 
and Development of the Moral Ideas, my observations 
in Morocco led me to oppose the view, then held by 
authorities on homosexuality, that acquired inversion is 
found only in occasional circumstances. 2 But it seems 
to me extremely improbable that seduction at an age so 
advanced as that required for the impunity of pederasty 
even by the most liberal laws, as also by proposals to 

1 W. McDougall, An Introduction to Social Psychology (London, 

*6), p. 357 *% 

2 The Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, ii. 468. 


alter the existing law, could make the seduced person 
an invert without a strong congenital predisposition. 
This is also the opinion of Moll 1 and of Ellis, who says 
that " in individuals not already predisposed it is far 
more likely to produce disgust, as it did in the case of 
the youthful Rousseau. * He only can be seduced ', 
as Moll puts it, ' who is capable of being seduced ' ". 2 
But Professor McDougall wants to justify the hard- 
ship inflicted upon homosexuals not only by public 
opinion, but also by the present law of England. He 
takes evidently for granted that criminal law is a power- 
ful instrument in repressing homosexuality. In addi- 
tion to what has been said above, I may quote Ellis' 
statement that in England, where the law is exception- 
ally severe, " yet, according to the evidence of those 
who have an international acquaintance with these 
matters, homosexuality is fully as prevalent as on the 
Continent; some would say that it is more so ". 8 
Professor McDougall must either be ignorant of the 
frequency of homosexuality in this country or assume 
that if the law were less draconic, it would be even much 
more prevalent there indeed more prevalent than in 
any other European country. 

It seems to me obvious that the censure to which 
homosexual intercourse as such is so frequently subject 
is, when uninfluenced by any religious considerations, 
in the first place due to that feeling of aversion or dis- 
gust which it tends to call forth in normally constituted 
adult individuals, whose sexual instincts have developed 
under normal conditions. This feeling tends to abate or 
disappear where special circumstances, such as absence 
of the other sex, the seclusion of women, or other facts, 
have given rise to widespread homosexual practices; 
and in no case seem even the baser forms of homo- 

1 Moll, op. cit. p. 241 sqq. 2 Ellis, op. cit. ii. 322 sq. 

3 Ibid. ii. 351. Cf.M. Hirschfeld, Die Homosexualitat (Berlin, 
1920), p. 546. 


sexuality to have led to anything like those drastic 
measures that we find where the condemnation of them 
has been influenced by religious beliefs. 

There are still to be mentioned certain circumstances 
that have affected the opinions about homosexuality in 
the Western world. It is popularly supposed to be an 
abnormality of comparatively few degenerate individuals. 
Only recent investigations have disclosed the fact that 
it is found in a very considerable number of people of 
either sex. In Germany, according to Dr. Hirschfeld, 
the proportion of inverts are somewhat over 2 per cent, 
and that of bisexual persons 4 per cent. 1 As to the 
prevalence of homosexuality in France opinions vary, 
but Dr. Ellis maintains that whilst it is less conspicuous 
there and in the other Latin countries than in Teutonic 
lands, it seems very doubtful whether inborn inversion 
is in any considerable degree rarer in France than in 
Germany. He also thinks we may probably conclude 
that the proportion of inverts in England is the same as 
in other related and neighbouring lands, that is to say, 
slightly over 2 per cent., which would give the homo- 
sexual population of Great Britain as somewhere about 
a million. 2 All those estimates must of course be 
hazardous, but they are much more likely to be too low 
than too high; for homosexuals generally try to conceal 
their proclivities, and often succeed in keeping them 
secret from their acquaintances. We have much higher 
figures in answers given to inquiries in America. Dr. 
Davis writes: " Slightly over 50 per cent, of a group of 
1 200 women college graduates, at least five years out of 
college, state that they have experienced intense 
emotional relations with other women, and that in 
slightly more than half these cases, or 26 per cent, of the 
entire group, the experience has been accompanied by 
overt physical practices ". 3 Of Dr. Hamilton's group 

1 Hirschfeld, op. cit. pp. 493, 485. 
2 Ellis, op. cit. ii. 62, 64. 3 Davis, op. cit. p. 277. 


of one hundred married men and an equal number of 
married women, 17 men and 26 women had indulged in 
homosexual episodes since the eighteenth year. 1 

Many of those persons may, of course, have been not 
genuine inverts but bisexual, that is, persons attracted 
to both sexes. Bisexuality may merge imperceptibly 
into real inversion, and on the other hand there may 
be a bisexual strain in persons who are, or become, 
normally heterosexual; between inversion and normal 
sexuality there seem to be all shades of variation. 
Indeed, hardly any man is a hundred per cent, man, 
hardly any woman a hundred per cent, woman. As 
William James said, inversion is a " kind of sexual 
appetite of which very likely most men possess the 
germinal possibility ". 2 Many physiologists are nowa- 
days of opinion that each sex contains the latent characters 
of the other sex in other words, is latently hermaphro- 
dite. Among mammals the male possesses useless 
nipples, which occasionally even develop into breasts, 
and the female possesses a clitoris, which is merely a 
rudimentary penis, and may also develop. So, too, a 
homosexual tendency may be regarded as simply the 
psychical manifestation of special characters of the other 
sex, susceptible of being evolved under certain circum- 
stances, such as may occur about the age of puberty. 3 
Then the sexual instinct of boys and girls shows plain 
signs of a homosexual tendency, and is often more or 
less undifferentiated. 4 When facts of this kind become 

1 Hamilton, op. cit. p. 497. 

2 W. James, The Principles of Psychology, ii. (London, 1891), 

P- 439- 

3 F. H. A. Marshall, The Physiology of Reproduction (London, 
1922), p. 689 sqq. 

4 M. Dessoir, ' Zur Psychologic der Vita sexualis ', in Allgemeine 
Zeitschrift fur Psychiatric und psychisch-gerichtliche Median, v. 
(Berlin, 1894), p. 941 sqq.\ Ellis, op. cit. ii. 79 sqq.\ A. Moll, The 
Sexual Life of the Child (London, 1912), p. 61 sqq.\ S. Freud, Drei 
Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie (Leipzig & Wien, 1926), p. 104. 


more commonly known, they can hardly fail to influence 
public opinion about homosexuality. 

The same may be said of some other findings of 
modern sexology. Homosexuality is frequently looked 
upon as a sign of moral degeneracy of a more general 
kind, but we now know that this is not the case. All 
varieties of moral character are found among inverts, 
just as among normal people; and it has been pointed 
out by Dr. Ellis that among great moral leaders and 
persons with strong ethical instincts there has been, and 
is to this day, in many cases a tendency towards the 
more elevated forms of homosexual feeling. That 
homosexuality is remarkably common among men of 
exceptional intellect was lonf ^go noted by Dante, and 
has often been noted since; but it is among artists that 
homosexuality may most strikingly be traced. 1 

While we may assume that a deepened insight into 
the nature of homosexuality will make people somewhat 
more tolerant in their attitude towards it, there is 
another factor that must influence the moral judgment 
of homosexual practices. When the last residue of the 
influence of antiquated religious ideas has vanished, 
normal persons will still feel aversion to those practices, 
just as genuine inverts often feel aversion to sexual 
connections with the other sex. But, as I have observed 
above, owing to the very nature of the moral emotions, 
aversion cannot be regarded as an adequate cause of 
moral censure by anyone whose judgment is sufficiently 
discriminate. To be called wrong an act must then be 
productive of other harm than the mere aversion it 
causes, provided that the agent has not in an indecent 
manner shocked anyone's feelings. Any moral con- 
demnation of homosexual practices (nobody can, of 
course, be blamed on account of his abnormal desire) 
must be founded on an opinion of their hurtfulness, 
individual or public, whatever it may be. But thought- 

1 Ellis, op. cit. ii. 26 sqq. 


ful people will be on their guard against the common 
tendency to seek a rational justification for judgments 
springing merely from sentimental dislikes. 

Another sexual abnormality that is morally con- 
demned and very frequently looked upon with the 
utmost horror is incest. It seems that a son is uni- 
versally prohibited by custom or law from marrying 
his mother and a father from marrying his daughter. 
Hardly less universal is the rule which forbids marriages 
between brothers and sisters who are children of the 
same father and mother; the best authenticated ex- 
ceptions to this rule are generally found in the families 
of kings or ruling chiefs, and there can be little doubt 
that they are due to the aim of maintaining the purity of 
the royal blood. Among peoples unaffected by modern 
civilisation the rules against incest are probably in the 
large majority of cases more extensive than among our- 
selves ; very often they refer to all the members of the 
clan. 1 

Many attempts have been made to account for those 
rules. I have criticised them in detail elsewhere and 
set forth my own theory on the subject, suggested by 
a multitude of facts. Generally speaking, there is a 
remarkable lack of inclination for sexual intercourse 
between persons who have been living closely together 
from the childhood of one or both of them. This has 
been recognised by various writers as a psychological 
fact proved by common experience, and is attested by 
statements from different parts of the world. Even 
among the lower animals there are indications that the 
pairing instinct fails to be stimulated by companions 
and seeks strangers for its gratification. 2 It is true that 
sexual indifference is not by itself adequate to account 

1 E. Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, ii. (London, 
1921), ch. xix. 

2 Ibid. ii. 193 sqq.\ E. Westermarck, Three Essays on Sex and 
Marriage (London, 1934), p. 72 sqq. 


for prohibitory rules. But such indifference is very 
generally combined with sexual aversion when the act 
is thought of; indeed, I believe that this is normally the 
case whenever the idea of sexual intercourse occupies 
the mind with sufficient intensity and a desire fails to 
appear. An old and ugly woman, for instance, would 
in such circumstances become sexually repulsive to 
most men; and to many inverts any woman, as an 
object of sexual desire, is not merely indifferent but 
disgusting. 1 And aversions that are generally felt lead 
readily to moral disapproval and prohibitory customs 
and laws. 

This I take to be the fundamental cause of the 
prohibition of incest. Persons who have been living 
together from childhood are as a rule near relatives. 
Hence their aversion to sexual relations with one another 
displays itself in custom and law, which naturally take 
into consideration only general and well-defined cases, 
as a prohibition of intercourse between persons who are 
near of kin. This interpretation of their aversion in 
terms of kinship is exactly analogous to another case of 
equally world-wide occurrence, namely, the process 
which has led to the association of all sorts of social 
rights and duties with kinship, though ultimately 
depending upon close living together. Parental, filial, 
and fraternal duties and rights, and those referring to 
relatives more remotely allied, are not in the first instance 
rooted in considerations of blood-relationship. If men, 
instead of remaining in the circle where they were born 
and keeping with their kindred, had isolated themselves 
or united with strangers, there would certainly be no 
blood-bond at all. That social rights and duties 
connected with kinship have come to include relatives 
who do not live together, is due to the fact that they 
have a strong tendency to last after the local tie is broken, 
particularly through the influence of a common name. 
1 Ellis, op. cit. ii. 278 sq. 



The same is the case with the exogamous rules. Clan 
exogamy has its counterpart, for instance, in the blood- 
feud as a duty incumbent on the whole clan, whether 
the members of it live together or not. When the 
clan system broke down, those rules were reduced to 
prohibitions against unions between near relatives or 
members of the same family only. 

In the case of the exogamous rules the social pro- 
hibition is often strengthened by superstitious beliefs, 
which have added horror to the natural feeling of 
reluctance. A transgression of the prohibition is 
supposed to be attended with all sorts of injurious 
consequences for the offspring of the guilty parents, or 
to involve the whole community in danger and disaster 
by causing epidemics, earthquakes, sterility of women, 
plants, or animals, or other calamities. 1 These facts, 
however, do not seem to give much support to the 
opinion that savages have discovered by experience the 
injurious effects of close intermarriage. Considering 
the aversion with which consanguineous marriages are 
looked upon, and considering further how readily all 
kinds of superstition arise in connection with the sexual 
function, we may quite expect to find evil consequences 
attributed to incest; and the idea that these conse- 
quences will fall upon the incestuous brood is intelligible 
enough. Other forms of illicit love, such as adultery 
or fornication, are also believed to produce similar 
disastrous effects. 

At the same time it seems to me quite probable that 
injurious effects resulting from close inbreeding are the 
cause of that lack of inclination for, and consequent 
aversion to, sexual intercourse between persons who 
from childhood have lived together in that intimacy 
which characterises the mutual relations of the nearest 
kindred. I maintain that any satisfactory explanation 
of the normal characteristics of the sexual instinct, 

1 The History of Human Marriage, ii. 170 sqq. 


which is of such immense importance for the existence 
of the species, must be sought for in their specific 
usefulness. We may assume that in this, as in other 
cases, natural selection has operated, and by eliminating 
destructive tendencies and preserving useful variations 
has moulded the sexual instinct so as to meet the 
requirements of the species. It must not be argued 
that marriages between cousins have proved too slightly 
injurious to produce such a selection. For if, as I 
maintain, the family consisting of parents and children 
prevailed as a social unit among our early human or 
semi-human progenitors, that peculiarity of the sexual 
instinct of which I am speaking would have grown up 
among them as a consequence of the harmfulness of 
unions between the very nearest relatives, unless indeed 
it was an inheritance from a still earlier mammalian 
species. But once acquired, it would naturally show 
itself also in the case of more remote relatives or quite 
unrelated persons who lived in close intimacy from 
childhood, however harmless the unions between them 
might be. And through an association of ideas and 
feelings it might readily lead to the prohibition of sexual 
intercourse between individuals who did not live 
together at all. Needless to say, however, that the 
main part of my theory of the prohibition of incest does 
not stand or fall with the biological explanation which 
it contains. This is only a hypothesis; whereas the 
psychical peculiarities which it is intended to elucidate 
are, so far as I can see, facts proved by common 

Even those facts, however, have been disputed on 
the ground that incestuous practices actually exist. So 
they do. But in most cases these are evidently due to 
the lack of more suitable partners, just as homosexual 
practices are very frequently due to the absence of 
available women. In Europe, at the present day, 
according to Bloch, " incest occurs almost exclusively 


as the result of chance associations as, for example, in 
alcoholic intoxication, in consequence of close domestic 
intimacy in small dwellings, in the absence of other 
opportunity for sexual intercourse ".* On examining 
the cases of incest which were tried by Swedish courts 
in the period 1913 to 1933, Dr. Torsten Sonden found 
that their main causes were intoxication and narrow 
dwellings; the majority of them occurred among country 
people and all in the lower strata of society. 2 Stekel 
tells us that in every case of incest between children of 
the same family which he has come across, those who 
committed it had grown up in seclusion from children 
belonging to other families. 3 We must not forget that 
a lack of desire, and even a positive feeling of aversion, 
may in certain cases be overcome. The sexual instinct 
is so powerful that when it cannot be gratified in the 
normal manner it may seek for abnormal gratification 
masturbation, incest, homosexual intercourse, even 
bestiality. Incest springing from sexual preference 
undoubtedly occurs in some exceptional cases; but this 
is only what may be expected from the great variability 
of the sexual impulse. I have no doubt that in the 
world generally, and in some countries particularly, 
homosexual practices are infinitely more prevalent than 
incest, which may be easily explained by the frequent 
prevalence of bisexual tendencies, in addition to genuine 

Freud maintains that every heterosexual person 
cherishes in the unconscious part of his or her mind a 
desire for sexual intimacy with the parent of the op- 
posite sex, but this theory has been contradicted by 

1 I. Bloch, The Sexual Life of Our Time (London, 1908), p. 639. 

2 * Incestbrotten en allvarlig samhiillsfara ', in Stockholms- 
Tidningen Stockholms Dagblad, August 23, 1935. 

3 W. Stekel, * Der Abbau des Inzestkomplexes ', in Fortschritte 
der Sexualwissenschaft und Psychoanalyse, ii. (Leipzig & Wien, 1926), 

P. 238- 


psycho-analysts of other schools; and his attempt to 
explain the well-nigh universal aversion to incest as the 
result of a repression of original incestuous tendencies is 
a hopeless failure. 1 It is a significant fact that while 
the exogamous rules of the Roman Catholic Church, in 
spite of the religious sanction given them, have been 
much reduced by the laws of all Christian countries, 
there is no law that allows marriage between parent and 
child or between brother and sister; even the Russian 
Soviet law of marriage and the family, which is the 
mtist liberal modern law of its kind, prohibits such 
unions. The explanation of this is simple enough. 
The prohibition of them is not felt as a restraint 
upon individual feelings, because in all normal cases 
there is no desire for the forbidden act, and the ex- 
ceptions to this rule are so infinitesimal that no sug- 
gestion has ever been made that the law should be 

I cannot believe that the prohibition of marriage 
between the nearest relatives will be removed in the 
future. Even if the sentimental aversion to sexual 
relations between them will cease to be recognised as 
an adequate ground for a moral condemnation of such 
relations, there remains a utilitarian reason for pre- 
venting them. So far as mankind is concerned, a 
satisfactory study of the effects of close inbreeding is 
prevented by the general absence of marriages between 
parent and child and between brother and sister. The 
closest kind of intermarriage that offers itself for 
scientific examination is that between first cousins, and 
there is a considerable literature on the subject; but the 
opinions of the writers are not unanimous. It seems, 
however, now to be an established fact that certain 
physical or mental defects are more frequent among the 
offspring of consanguineous marriages than among the 

1 See my essay on * The Oedipus Complex ', in Three Essays on 
Sex and Marriage > pp. 24, 89 sqq. 


offspring of marriages between unrelated individuals. 1 
The experience of inbreeding among animals has led to 
the conclusion that it is attended with considerable 

As to the cause of the danger of inbreeding there is 
difference of opinion. Professor Baur , one of the leading 
geneticists of our time, maintains that the bad results 
which almost invariably occur when inbreeding is 
practised in the case of an organism wherein cross- 
fertilisation is the rule depend upon two very different 
things. In the first place, inbreeding and reproduction 
from individuals who are closely akin favours the 
mendelising-out of recessive developmental defects. 
Recessive characters may be passed on as unseen poten- 
tialities through one parent from one generation to 
another, ready to show themselves as soon as they meet 
with the same latent potentiality in the other partner. 
Many families carry hereditary recessive taints of some 
kind or other, without their members being aware of it. 
Marriage outside the family will not lead to the appear- 
ance of the taint, as not productive of homozygotic 
offspring that is, offspring which has originated out 
of the conjugation of two reproductive cells having like 
hereditary equipments but marriage within the family 
will favour its appearance. This is one cause, though 
according to Baur not the only one, of the ill-effects of 
inbreeding. " A second kind of ill-effect from in- 
breeding depends upon the fact that, for unknown 
reasons, inbreeding the more speedily, the closer it 
is weakens the offspring and reduces the capacity 
for reproduction ". 2 Other biologists, who also believe 
in the bad effects of inbreeding, attribute them ex- 
clusively to the former cause. Dr. East and Dr. Jones 

1 The History of Human Marriage, ii. 227 sqq.\ Three Essays on 
Sex and Marriage, p. 152 sqq. 

2 E. Baur, E. Fischer, and F. Lenz, Human Heredity (London, 
1931), p. 109. 


also speak of the injurious, nay " even disastrous ", 
immediate results of inbreeding in naturally cross- 
fertilised organisms, but maintain that " whatever 
effect it may have is due wholly to the inheritance 
received ", or, as they say more cautiously, that " the 
results of inbreeding depend more upon the genetic 
composition of the individual subjected to inbreeding 
than upon any pernicious influence inherent in the 
process itself 'V Professor Federley remarks that the 
injurious recessive genes are so prevalent that " the 
experienced breeder justly shrinks from inbreeding ". a 
For a similar reason Professor Kraus 3 and Dr. Marcuse 4 
consider a warning against the marriage of relations to 
be justified. 

1 E. M. East and D. F. Jones, Inbreeding and Outbreeding 
(Philadelphia & London [1919]), pp. 139, 188. 

2 H. Federley, Das Inzuchtproblem (Berlin, 1927), p. 37. 

3 F. Kraus and H. Dohrer, * Blutsverwandtschaft in der Ehe und 
deren Folgen fur die Nachkommenschaft ', in C. von Noorden and 
S. Kaminer, Krankheiten und Ehe (Leipzig, 1916), p. 81. 

4 M. Marcuse, ' Verwandtenehe und Mischehe ', in Die Ehe, 
edited by M. Marcuse (Berlin & Koln, 1927), p. 354. 


MY inquiry has come to an end. In drawing my 
inferences I have followed the method indicated in the 
beginning of the book. I have tried to find the causes 
of the various aspects of marriage under discussion, 
and from the assumed prevalence of the causes I have 
inferred the probability of future happenings. I have 
not concluded that something will happen simply 
because the line of evolution in the past or some 
tendency of to-day seems to suggest it. I have not 
based my prediction of the survival of marriage and the 
family on the fact that they have, presumably, always 
existed in mankind, but on the assumed continuance of 
those feelings to which we may trace their origin. I 
have not been led to my belief in freer divorce in the 
future merely by the changes which have already taken 
place in some modern laws, but by the reasons for those 
changes. When I anticipated a more general accept- 
ance of the opinion that sexual acts are morally in- 
different and no proper objects for penal legislation if 
nobody is injured by them, I did so not because there 
is already among enlightened people a tendency to look 
upon them in that light, but because the very nature of 
those emotions which underlie all moral valuation leads 
me to such a conclusion. I pointed out that, when 
sufficiently discriminating, the emotion of moral dis- 
approval is too much concerned with the will of the 
agent to be felt towards a person who obviously neither 
intends to commit a harmful act nor is guilty of culpable 
oversight; and that some degree of reflection therefore 



should persuade people that mere antipathies are no 
sufficient ground for interfering with other individuals' 
liberty of action, either by punishing them or subjecting 
them to moral censure. 

There is, however, a weak point in the method: the 
anticipations depend upon special assumptions. The 
causes of certain events are assumed to lead to similar 
events in the future. Knowledge and intellectual dis- 
cernment are assumed to increase and to produce more 
extensive effects than hitherto, destroying much that is 
due v to ignorance, superstition, and thoughtlessness. At 
the same time, certain deep-rooted feelings are assumed 
to endure and continue to influence human behaviour, 
as they have done hitherto. But although such assump- 
tions possess a very considerable degree of certainty so 
far as the nearer future is concerned, they cannot lay 
claim to everlasting infallibility. And to speak only 
of the most essential thesis of this book if there will 
be a time when conjugal and parental sentiments have 
vanished, I think that nothing in the world can save 
marriage and the family from destruction. 


Abrahams, L, 84 

Adler, O., 43, 47, 48, 72, 123, 
142, 143, 146 

Adolphus Frederick of Mecklen- 
burg, the Duke, 13 

Aiyer, P. S. Sivaswami, 194 

Albcric, 229 

Alverdes, F., 166 

Ameer Ali, Syed, 117, 192, 193 

Ammianus Marcellinus, 117 

Anquetil, G., 135, 179 

Arbois de Jubainville, H. d', 

172, 195 

Aristotle, 67, 157, 168 
Aronovici, Carol, 126 
Athenaeus, 138 
Athenagoras, 24 

Bain, A., 186, 236, 241 

Baker, J. R., n 

Ball, J. Dyer, 193 

Balzac, H. de, 44, 46, 52, 57, 

72, 82, 192 
Bartiett, G. A., 39, 88, 89, 106, 


Barton, G. A., 117, 118 
Basil, Saint, 246 
Baur, E., 262 
Beaconsfield, Lord, 53 
Beale, G. .,31,43, 143 
Beam, L., 44, 51, 153 
Beauchet, L., 194 
Bebel, A., 19 
Benecke, E. F. M., 142 
Bernard, Jessie, 88 

Beveridge, W., 153 

Binkley, R. C. and F. W., 100 

Bishop, J. P., 211 

Bjerre, P., 47, 52, 96, 107, 108 

Black, J. S., 22 

Blake, T. P. U., 35 

Bloch, L, 14, 34, 53, 56, 60, 118, 

136, 143, 189, 260 
Blonsky, P. Petrowitsch, 147, 


Bliiher, H., 179 
Blum, L., 135 
Bolin, T., 39 

Borgius, W., 55, 69, 156, 241 
Bracton, H. de, 121 
Brauer, E., 22 

Brehm, A. E., 12, 13, 186, 187 
Briffault, R., 16, 18, 20, 137 
Bryce, Lord, 92, 203, 216 
Brynmor-Jones, D., 195 
Burbridge, B., 13 
Burchow-Hohmeyer, Charlotte, 


Burckhardt, J. L., 30 
Burgdorfer, F., 26, 101 
Burton, R. F., 86 
Busemann, 100 

Caesar, 195 

Cahen, A., 37, 61, 119, 152, 215 
Calhoun, A. W., 86 
Calverton, V. F., 20, 90, 96, 
114, 127, 135, 155, 178, i97> 

Carpenter, E., 73, 75 




Carr-Saunders, A. M., 101 
Cheetham, S., 173 
Chevalier, J., 248 
Cheyne, T. K., 22 
Cicero, 132, 194 
Collet, Clara E., 106 
Collins, 49, 96, 125, 188, 196 
Cope, E. D., 115, 177 
Corin, J., 165 
Cummings, A. J., 163 

Dalyell, J. G., 105 
Dante, 255 
Darmesteter, J., 23 
Darwin, C., 16, 166, 187 
Davis, Katharine B., 24-26, 41, 

50, 85, 134, 242, 253 
De Pomerai, R., 80, 107, 158, 

159, 189, 222 
Dehnow, F., 244 
Dell, Floyd, 161, 163 
Demosthenes, 23, 194 
Dessoir, M., 254 
Diard, 12 

Dickinson, G. Lowes, 30 
Dickinson, R. L., 44, 51, 153 
Diehl, K., 157 
Dohrer, H., 263 
Doflein, F., 7 
Doolittle, J., 62 
Dorn, H., 132 
Driberg, J. H., 138 
Dubois, J. A., 30 
Duck, J., 127 
Duncan, J. M., 70 
Dundas, C., 138 
Dunlap, Knight, 178 

East, E. M., 263 
Ehrenfels, Chr. von, 179, 188 
Elberskirchen, Johanna, 143, 197 
Ellis, Havelock, 25, 27, 31, 35, 
44, 45, 47, 49, 50, 52, 60, 75, 
86, 89, 94, 102, 105, 106, 108, 
no, 119, 124, 129, 130, 141- 
143, 146, 149, 161, 173, 175, 

181, 199, 201, 214, 218, 220, 
224, 248, 249, 252-255, 257 

Ellis, Mrs. Havelock, 176 

Enestrom, F. J. E., 34 

Enfantin, 157 

Engels, F., 19, 178 

Erb, 146 

Evans, Wainwright, 59, 109-113, 
124, 130, 136, 159, 188, 196, 
216, 219, 220, 223, 225, 228 

Everett, M. S., 39, 41 

Exner, M. J., 40 

Federley, H., 263 

Fehlinger, H., 154 

Fellows, A., 122 

Fetscher, R., 107 

Field, Alice Withrow, 162 

Finkenrath, K., 54 

Fischer, E., 262 

Folsom, J. K., 65, 100, 152, 153, 

1 60 

Forbes, H. O., 13 
Forel, A., 35, 76, 87, 130, 141, 

143, 146, 188, 196, 197, 220, 

224, 244 
Fourier, 157 
Fraenkel, M., 102 
Freud, S., 97, 149, 254, 260, 261 
Friedberg, E., 173 
Friedlaender, K. F., 48, 135, 

142, 143, 197 
Fustel de Coulanges, N. D., 23 

Gait, E. A., 194 
Gesell, A. L., 76 
Ginsberg, M., 138 
Giraldus de Barri, 105 
Glass, D. V., 36, 152, 216, 218 
Glasson, E., 37, 210 
Goethe, 116 
Gomme, G. L., 105 
Goodsell, W., 90, 119, 198 
Gorell, Lord, 221 
Gregory of Nyssa, 231 
Grosser, F. J., 43, 62, 145 

Groves, E. R., 89, 222 
Guenther, A. C. L. G., 167 
Guradze, Dr., 91 
Gurewitsch, Z. A., 43, 62, 145 
Guthrie, 13 

Haas, R., 44 

Hagen, W., 86 

Haire, Norman, 38, 50, 143, 158, 
159, 177, 220, 224 

Haldane, J. B. S., 170 

Hallam, H., 173 

Halle, Fannie W., 99, 129, 178, 

Hamburger, Dr., 99 

Hamilton, G. V., 25-27, 36, 41, 
43, 44, 47, 48, 51, 55-58, 87- 
90, 92, 95-98, 100, 107, 124, 
125, 181, 182, 189, 198, 243, 

Hanauer, W., 84 

Hardy, T., 165 

Harmsen, H., 25 

Hartland, E. S., 77 

Hartley, C. Gasquoine, 83, 120 

Hartley, D., 164 

Haustein, H., 244, 249 

Haynes, E. S. P., 60, 218, 220, 


Heape, W., 12, 55 
Hellwald, F. von, 173, 174 
Hiller, K., 249 
Hindus, M., 69, 135, 151, 162, 

164, 212, 223 
Hinton, J., 175, 176 
Hirschfeld, M., 102, 252, 253 
Hirth, G., 189, 196 
Hobbes, T., 236 
Hobhouse, L. T., 138 
Hollister, H. K., 50 
Holmes, S. J., 235 
Hozumi, N., 62, 118, 193 
Hruza, E., 195 

Hug-Hellmuth, Hermine, 162 
Hughes, J. P., 117 
Hunter, W. A., 70 


Hurgronje, C. Snouck, 118 

Inge, W. R., 40 
Isaeus, 23 
Isocrates, 67 

Jagerskiold, L. A., 167 
Jamblichus, 230 
James, W., 254 
Jenks, A. E., 13 
Jochelson, W., 105 
John of Damascus, 231 
Jones, D. F., 263 
Jorgensen, C., 92 
Joyce, P. W., 195 
Jullian, C., 195 

Kaegi, A., 30 
Kaibel, 135, 136 
Kaminer, ., 263 
Kant, I., 128, 244, 250 
Kauschansky, D. M., 4, 68 
Key, Ellen, 46, 57, 73, 86, 133, 

Keyserling, H., 39, 52, 85, 146, 

Kisch, E. H., 29, 68, 70-72, 82, 

86, 87, 105, 135, 142, 143, 146, 

188, 197 
Klink, K., 218 
Knack, A. V., 26 
Knight, M. M., 109 
Knopf, Olga, 36, 49, 91, 100 
Kohler, W., 235 
Konig, A., 91, 106, 127 
Kostlin, J., 173 
Koppenfels, H. von, 13 
Krafft-Ebing, R. von, 71, 142, 

1 88, 196 
Kraus, F., 263 
Krauss, S., 172 
Krek, G., 195 
Kretschmer, .,85 
Krishe, 19 
Krolzig, G., 97 
Kunkel, F., 218 



Lagerborg, R., 32 

Landmann, F., 182 

Lang, R. O., 40 

Lazarsfeld, Sofie, 46, 149 

Le Bon, G., 178 

Lea, H. C., 121 

Lebedeva, Dr., 163 

Lecky, W. E. H., 81 

Lenz, F., 262 

Lessing, 72 

Letourneau, Ch., 220 

Lewis, H., 107 

Lichtenberger, J. P., no, 112, 

151, 152, 154,214,215,221 
Liepmann, W., 44, 143, 146, 197 
Lindsey, B. B., 59, 109-113, 124, 

130, 136, 159, 188, 196, 216, 

219, 220, 222, 223, 225, 228 
Lippmann, 228 
Livingstone, D., 13 
Lobo, J., 118 
Loewenfeld, L., 32, 53, 83, 142, 

143, 146, 196 
Loewenthal, J., 19 
Lombroso, Gina, 141, 145 
Ludovici, A. M., 96 
Luther, 173, 204 
Lysias, 141 

McDougall, W., 1 66, 251 
Macgregor, Colonel 
Macieiowski, W. A., 195 
Malinowski, B., 19, 247 
Mann, Th., 39 
Maranon, G., 35, 99 
Marcuse, M., 72, 84, 100, 102, 

105, 106, 126, 162, 218, 220, 


Marro, A., 141 
Marshall, F. H. A., 12, 254 
Maurois, A., 53 

May, G., 69, 128, 155, 242, 243 
Mead, Margaret, 247 
Meisel-Hess, Crete, 52, 120, 

141, 196 
Melanchthon, 173 

Meyer, E., 181 

Meyer, E. H., 34 

Michelet, 94 

Michels, R., 52, 61, 70, 106, 

127, 132, 135, 149, 151, 157, 


Mielziner, M., 211 
Mill, J. S., 240 
Miller, G. S., 11, 55 
Milton, J., 61, 220, 221 
Mittermaier, W., 69, 121 
Modeen, G., 128 
Moll, A., 26, 52, 82, 102, 103, 

126-128, 141, 142, 179, 181, 

218, 249, 250, 252, 254 
Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley, 

Montaigne, M. de, 49, 52, 55, 

109, 214 

Mortimer-Ternaux, L., 210 
Mowrer, E. R., 86, 90, 219 
Muckermann, 102 
Miiller, H., 186 
Miiller-Braunschweig, C., 249 
Miiller-Freienfels, R., 32, 52, 86 
Munk, Marie, 225 
Munnecke, W., 6 
Musitanus, 50 
Myrdal, Alva and G., 91 

Nacke, P., 14 

Nicolovius (N. Loven), 34 

Niese, B., 194 

Nimkoff, M. F., 40, 42, 82, 90, 

100, 115, 119, 122, 159-161, 


Noorden, C. von, 263 
Nordau, M., 190, 192 
Noyes, J. H., 175 

Oertzen, von, 12 
Oettingen, A. von, 56, 180 

Parsons, E. C., 107 
Paul, Eden, 156 
Pennell, T. L., 193 



Pesl, L. D., 25, 127, 162 
Pirkner, E. H., m, 142 
Plato, 23, 30, 157 
Plautus, 68 
Plutarch, 68 
Polak, J. E., 117, 192 
Popenoe, P., 27, 28, 86 
Pruette, Lorine, 90, 108, 198 
Pyke, R., 39-41,92 

Ranulf, S., 26 

Reclus, E., 199 

Reed, Ruth, 71, no, 126, 128 

Reichenow, E., 7 

Reid, medical officer of health, 

8 9 

Reuter, Gabriele, 60 

Rhys, J., 195 

Ribbing, S., 179 

Riese, Hertha, 102 

Risley, H., 23 

Rivers, W. H. R., 4 

Robinson, W. J., 74, 142, 161, 

169, 188, 189, 196, 218, 222 
Rockhiil, W. W., 118 
Rodecurt, M., 224 
Roeder, F., 195 
Rogers, C., 105 
Roguin, E., 209-212 
Rohleder, H., 143 
Rousseau, 52, 125, 141 
Rudeck, W., 105, 121 
Russell, B., 28, 31, 39, 52, 71, 

74, 92, 112, 135, 136, 170, 

219, 220, 225, 226, 241 

Sanger, Margaret, 32, 44, 47, 48, 

Schaffner, W., 4 

Scheumann, F. K., 103 
Schmalhausen, S. D., 26, 135, 


Schmidt, L., 141 
Schopenhauer, A,, 53, 86, 188, 

196, 250 
Schrader, O., 195 

Schweitzer, E. E., 224 

Scobell, H., 69 

Secretan, Ch., 116 

Sellheim, H., 101, 103, 129, 


Shand, A. F., 78 
Shaw, G. B., 130, 188, 192, 218, 

221, 223, 225 
Shephard, W., 69 
Siegel, P. W., 99 
Siemsen, Anna, 129 
Slaten, A. W., 225 
Smith, W., 173 
Sonden, T., 260 
Southern, G. W. R., 177 
Spencer, H., 164 
Spranger, E., 32 
Stael, Madame de, 141 
Steinwallner, B., 67 
Stekel, W., 72, 94, 95, 169, 170, 

190, 260 

Stendhal, de (Henry Beyle), 71 
Stephenson, E. F., 142 
Stevenson, R. L., 84, 85, 171 
Stocker, Helene, 79 
Stopes, Marie, 32, 44, 46, 48, 49, 

Sutherland, A., 167 

Tacitus, 195 

Taine, H., 209 

Tenenbaum, J., 39, 58 

Tertuilian, 230, 246 

Theodore, 250 

Thierry, A., 173 

Thomas, A. W., 25 

Thomas Aquinas, 231, 242 

Thorbecke, Clara, 169 

Timerding, H. E., 54 

Tinklepaugh, O. L., 187 

Torday, E., 138 

Traumann, F. E., 24, 61, 196, 

Tucker, A., 237 

Uhlmann, Frau, 128 



Ungern-Sternberg, Leonie, 148 

Vaerting, M., 199 

Valera, J., 150 

Vatsayana, 45, 46, 50, 123, 199 

Velde, Th. H. van de, 28, 32, 44, 

54, 59, 83, 84, 87, 94, 190 
Virey, J. J., 16 
Vitrey, Dr., 161 
Voltaire, 248 
Volz, W., 6 
Vorwahl, H., 22, 50, 170 

Wallace, A. R., 9 
Wasserschleben, F. W. H., 232, 


Wega, Hedwig, 60, 71, 144, 146 
Weil, A., 26, 79, 102, 128, 135, 


Weinhold, K., 121 
Weissenberg, S., 42, 47, 145, 

196, 198, 243 

Wells, H. G., 133, 158 

Weressajew, 170 

Wernich, A., 118 

Westerstahl, Sonja Branting, 223 

Wexberg, E., 136 

Wheeler, G. C., 138 

Wiese, L. von, 108 

Wikman, K. R. V., 138 

Wilamowitz - MoellendorfT, U. 

von, 194 

Wile, Ira S., 108, 198 
Wilhelm, E., 127 
Willcox, W. F., 37, 215 
Wise, S. S., in 
Woodhouse, C. G., 82 
Wulff, Annemarie, 127-129 

Yerkes, R. M. and Ada W., 6, n 

Zacharias, E., 103 
Zuckerman, S., 7, 9-11, 187 


Abortion, 99, 137, 168, 178 

Abyssinia, temporary marriage in, 

Adultery, 58-79, 175, 178, 179, 197, 
198, 258; as a legal ground of 
divorce, 61-66, 204, 207, 215-217, 
221, 224-227 

Age, the relative, of the spouses 
influencing satisfaction in mar- 
riage, 87, 88; at which people 
marry, 153, 154 

Alimony, 109, 113, 117, 224 

Altruistic sentiments, leading to 
disinterested resentment, 234, 235 

Anabaptists, polygyny advocated by 
the, 174 

Anglo-Saxons, polygyny among the, 
195; divorce, 208; penance pre- 
scribed for masturbation, 242 

Animals, the sexual instinct in, 
dulled by long companionship 
and stimulated by novelty, 55, 
256; the furious jealousy of male, 
76; parental instincts in, 164- 167; 
absorbing passion for one, 186, 
187; disinterested resentment, 235 

Antipathies, disinterested. See Aver- 

Apes, the anthropoid, relations 
between the sexes and between 
parents and offspring, and other 
social* relations among, 6, 7, 12, 
13, 1 8; small number of young, 
7; long period of infancy, 7; 
sexual season, 9-11 

Arabs, conjugal affection among the, 
30; temporary marriage, 117, 
1 1 8; infanticide among the an- 
cient, 1 68 

Australian aborigines, conjugal affec- 
tion among the, 29; infanticide, 
169; polygyny, 184 

Austria, sexual ignorance among 
girls in, 49; paternal support of 

an illegitimate child, 127; orphan 
asylums, 161, 162; cicisbeism, 
199, 200; divorce, 211; homo- 
sexual practices, also of women, 
punished, 250 

Auto-erotism, 241-243 

Aversions, giving rise to dis- 
interested resentment, 236, 237; 
leading to moral judgments on 
sexual behaviour, 239, 244, 248, 
252, 255-261; owing to the 
nature of moral resentment when 
sufficiently discriminating, not 
giving rise to moral censure, 240, 
241. ^55, 256, 264, 265 

Baboons, numerous families banded 
together among, 6, 7; absence 
of breeding season among Chacma, 
10; the maternal instinct in, 165, 
1 66; absorbing passion for one, 

l8 7 
Bantu tribes, pre-nuptial intercourse 

among, 137, 138 

Barrenness in the wife, a cause of 
divorce, 21, 22; a cause of poly- 
gyny, 177, 183, 184, 194 

Bavaria, trial marriages among the 
peasants of, 28 

Beauty, physical, as a sexual stimu- 
lant, 51, 53, 183 

Belgium, divorce in, 204, 205, 210 

Bestiality, 243-245, 260 

Betrothal, sexual intercourse con- 
nected with, 1 06, 107, 134 

Birds, relations between the sexes 
and parental care among, 6, 167; 
absorbing passion for one, 186, 

Birth control. See Contraception 

Bisexuality, 253, 254, 260 

Burma, divorce among the Buddhists 
of, 213 

Bushmen, 184 


Caste, marriage out of one's, 83; 
divorce dependent on the decision 
of the, 213 

Catholic Church, the Roman, views 
on marriage, sexual intercourse, 
and sexual desire held by, 24, 130, 
228-232; its attitude towards 
contraception, 24, 238; towards 
divorce, 64, 202, 203, 219, 220; 
separation from bed and board 
according to, 66, 220; its attitude 
towards polygyny, 173; marriage 
regarded as a sacrament by, 202; 
its condemnation of masturbation, 
242; of homosexual practices com- 
mitted by men or women, 246, 
250; exogamous rules of, 261. See 

countries, divorce in, 203, 204, 
219, 220 

Catholics, Roman, contraception 
among, 25; marriages between 
Protestants and, 84 

Celibacy, clerical, 130, 131, 231 

Celtic peoples, night-courting cus- 
toms among, 138 

Ceylon, polyandry and group- 
marriage in, 1 6, 17 

Charlemagne, polygyny and con- 
cubinage of, 173 

Chastity, pre-nuptial, the double 
standard of, 131-150. See Free 
love, Virginity 

Childbirth, sexual abstinence after, 
182; considered polluting, 232 

Children, the marriage tie strength- 
ened by the presence of, 21, 22, 
36, 37, 94, 95, 191; relations 
between parents and, 36, 54, 95- 
98, 156-164, 257; extra-domestic 
vocation of the mother antagon- 
istic to the interests of the, 89-90; 
not always desired, 95, 99, cf. 
Contraception; the proportion of 
deaths to the number of births in 
a family of, 99; other influence 
of the number of, 99, 100; 
institutional bringing up of, 129, 
159-164; effects of parental dis- 
cord and divorce on the, 218, 219. 
See Illegitimate childbirth and 
children, Offspring 

Chile, legal attitude towards homo- 
sexuality in, 248, 249 

Chimpanzees, relations between the 
sexes and between parents and 
young, and other social relations 

among, 6; small number of young, 
7; long period of infancy, 7; 
sexual season, n; disinterested 
resentment, 235 

China, importance attached to off- 
spring in, 22; conjugal affection, 
30; divorce, 62, 212; legal atti- 
tude towards adultery, 62, 67; 
pederasty, 81, 247; infanticide, 
1 68, 169; polygyny, 185, 193 

Chivalry, the tenet of chastity laid 
down by the code of, 131 

Christianity, its attitude towards 
adultery, 68; its influence on the 
treatment of illegitimate children, 
128, 231; on views about extra- 
matrimonial sexual intercourse, 
130-132, 228, 231; opinion held 
by it about the sexual impulse of 
w r omen, 142; its horror of sodomy, 
245, 246 

Christians, the early, views on 
marriage, sexual intercourse, and 
sexual uncleanness held by, 23, 
24, 228-232; their attitude to- 
wards divorce, 64, 220; towards 
adultery, 64, 68; towards poly- 
gyny, 172; towards sodomy, 246 

Cicisbeism, 199, 200 

Clan, the family older than the, 19; 
exogamous rules relating to mem- 
bers of the same, 256-258 

Class, marriage out of one's, 83 

College students, marriage between, 
41, 42, 82 

Concubinage, 23, 119-122, 172, 173, 

Conjugal affection, 29-33, 36, 57, 
59, 155, 156, 164, 170, 185, 186, 
264, 265 

community of life, an essential 
element in marriage, 4, 21,29, 33, 36 

duties and rights, 3, 4 
Contraception, 24-26, 54, 70, 71, 98- 

101, 107, 109-113, 130, 1-37, 154, 


Contrast, marriage of, 85-87 
Costa Rica, separation from bed and 

board in, 212; divorce, 212 
Courtship, before marriage, 45, 93, 

X 37> 1 39> before the act of coition, 

45> 4 6 93 

Cousins, biological effects of mar- 
riages between, 259, 261-263 

Crime, conviction of a, or imprison- 
ment, as a ground of divorce, 205, 
207, 215 

INDEX 275 

Cruelty, as a cause of divorce, 61; 

as a legal ground of, 61, 205, 207, 

215, 216 
Customs, rules of conduct based on 

public disapproval, 8; the earliest 

rules of duty, 234 

Defloration, 46-48 

Denmark, birth control in, 26; con- 
cubinage in mediaeval, 121; di- 
vorce in, 211, 212; separation from 
bed and board, 211, 212 

Desertion, as a ground of divorce, 
61, 64, 204, 205, 207, 215 

Dislikes, sentimental. See Aversions 

Divorce, ch. x. 202-227; causes of, 
21, 22, 36, 37, 56, 60-62, 88, 89, 
153; frequency, 41, 42, 82, 151, 
152, 21 o, 211, 214-218; legal 
grounds, 61-65, 118, 154, 201, 
204-227, 239, 264; by mutual 
consent, 109, 112, 113, 115, 117, 
207-213, 220-223; at the jdesire 
of either party, 43, 63, 114, 115, 
207-209, 213, 223, 224; costs of, 
154, 216-218, 223. See Alimony 

Dogs, disinterested resentment in, 


Drunkenness, as a ground of divorce, 
205, 207 

Economic circumstances connected 
with marriage, 4, 17, 33; influ- 
encing the choice of a partner, 
34-36, 241; satisfaction in mar- 
riage, 88-91 ; the form of marriage, 
182, 184, 186, 192, 194 

Egypt, ancient, notion of sexual 
uncleanness in, 228 

England, contraception in, 25, 130; 
divorce, 36, 61, 64, 65, 72, 201, 
204, 206, 207, 214, 216, 221, 224; 
matrimonial unhappmess, 38-40; 
sexual ignorance among girls, 49; 
adultery, 61, 65, 66, 69, 72, 201, 
207; murders due to jealousy, 
78; women marrying out of their 
class, 83; consequences of ex- 
tra-domestic vocation of married 
women, 89; trial unions, 106; 
concubinage, 121, 122; illegiti- 
mate children, 130, 155; punish- 
ment for fornication, 131; re- 
marriage, 152; the marriage-rate 
and the age at which people 
marry, 153; proposals to legalise 

polygyny, 175, 176; annulment of 
marriage, 206, 216; bestiality 
made felony, 243; punishment for 
sodomy, 246, 249, 252; frequency 
of homosexuality or sexual in- 
version, 252, 253 
Eugenic measures, 101-103, 2 3& 
Exogamous rules, 256-259, 261 

Family, the, consisting of parents 
and offspring among animals, 6, 
7; universal in mankind, 7, 19; 
presumably prevalent with primi- 
tive man, 7, 8, 19, 259; marriage 
rooted in, rather than the family 
in marriage, 9 ; suggested or pre- 
dicted break-up of, 156-164, 170 

" , the animal", according to Dr. 
BrifTault, 18 

Feminists, sexual equality between 
men and women advocated by, 

.133-135,. 148 

Finland, illegitimate children in, 
128; separation from bed and 
board, 212; divorce, 212 

Fishes, paternal care among, 167 

France, contraception in, 25; sexual 
ignorance among girls, 49; free 
love, 52, 123, 125; parents' in- 
fluence on their children's mar- 
riage, 53, 54, 210; paternal rights 
and filial duties, 54; divorce, 65, 
203-205, 209, 210, 224; adultery, 
65, 68; paternal support of an 
illegitimate child, 126, 127; homo- 
sexuality, 246, 248, 249, 253 

Frederick William II. of Prussia, 
bigamy of, 173 

Free love, ch. vii. 123-150; frequency 
of, said to indicate the doom of 
marriage, 154, 155; stringent 
divorce laws leading to, 214; 
sentimental aversions influencing 
judgments on, 241; superstitious 
ideas relating to, 258 

Frogs, paternal care among, 167 

Gaul, ancient, polygyny supposed 
to have occurred in, 195 

Generation, artificial, 170 

Germany, contraception in, 25, 26, 
130; trial unions, 28, 105, 106; 
money marriages and economic 
equality between the parties 
among peasants, 34; prevalence 
of matrimonial unhappiness, 39; 


sexual instruction, 50; marriages 
between Jews and Christians, 84; 
between Protestants and Catholics, 
84; the way to marriage for women 
usually over an occupation, 91; 
proletarian youths' attachment to 
their families, 96, 97; the pro- 
portion of deaths to the number 
of births in a family, 99; legitimate 
first-born children conceived be- 
fore marriage, 105, 106; sexual 
intercourse among betrothed 
couples, 107; concubinage in 
mediaeval, 121; illegitimate chil- 
dren in, 127-130, 154, 155, 169; 
legal recognition of the double 
standard of pre-nuptial chastity, 
132; legal conception of rape in 
mediaeval, 132; orphan asylums 
in, 161, 162; polygyny, 173, 174; 
divorce in mediaeval, 203; in 
modern, 204-206, 208; homo- 
sexuality, 249, 250, 253. See 
Teutonic peoples 

Gibbons, relations between the 
sexes and between parents and 
young among, 6; small number 
of young, 7; long period of 
infancy, 7; sexual season, n 

Gorillas, relations between the sexes 
and between parents and young, 
and other social relations among, 
6; small number of young, 7; 
long period of infancy, 7; sexual 
season, 1 1 

Greece, separation from bed and 
board in, 212; divorce, 212 

, ancient, importance attached to 
offspring in, 23 ; conjugal affection, 
30; divorce, 63; attitude towards 
adultery, 63; ignorance and dull- 
ness of married women, 81; 
courtesans, 81; pederasty, 81, 
247, 248, 251; opinions about the 
sexual impulse in women, 142; 
exposure of infants, 168, 169; 
abortion, 168; polygyny and con- 
cubinage, 183, 194, 195; notion 
of sexual uncleanness, 228 

Group-marriage, 16-18, 157, 174, 175 

Guatemala, divorce in, 211; separa- 
tion from bed and board, 211 

Hebrews, importance attached to 
offspring among the, 22; adultery, 
66, 67; polygyny, 185; notion 
of sexual uncleanness, 228, 229; 

punishment for bestiality, 243; 
abhorrence of sodomy, 245. See 
Jewish law 

Heretics, accused of homosexuality, 

Hindus, importance attached to off- 
spring among the, 23, 183; con- 
jugal affection, 30; the art of love, 
44-46, 50, 123; opinion held about 
the sexual impulse in women, 142; 
infanticide, 168, 169; polygyny, 
183, 185, 193, 194; divorce, 213; 
sodomy, 247 

Holiness, extremely sensitive to pol- 
lution, 229-232 

Holland, trial marriages among the 
peasants of, 28, 29; marriages 
between Protestants and Catholics 
in, 84 

Homosexuality, 81, 243, 245-256, 
259, 260 

Hungary, paternal support of an 
illegitimate child in, 127 

Husbands, impotence of, 43; lack of 
skill or consideration, or ignor- 
ance, in, 43-48; adultery com- 
mitted by, ch. iv. 58-79 passim\ 
less sensitive about domestic 
finances than wives, 88, 89 

Illegitimate childbirth and children, 
4, 126-130, 137, 138, 154, 155, 
169, 178, 231, 238 

Impotence, a cause of marital dis- 
cord, 43; a ground of polygyny, 
!73> of divorce or annulment of 
marriage, 206 

Inbreeding, injurious effects of, 258, 
259, 261-263 

Incest, 256-263 

India, polyandry and group-mar- 
riage in, 1 6, 1 7. See Hindus, Vedic 

Indo-European nations, ^ancient, 
importance attached to offspring 
among, 22, 23; adultery, 67; 
exposure of new-born infants, 168 

Infants, betrothal of, 137; mortality 
of artificially fed, or such as are 
suckled by strangers, 161; in- 
fanticide or exposure of, 167-169 

Insanity, as a ground of divorce, 206, 
207, 226 

Ireland, economic equality between 
the parties at the conclusion of a 
marriage among the peasants in, 
34, 35; trial unions, 105 

INDEX 277 

Ireland, ancient, polygyny and con- 
cubinage in, 172, 183, 195; 
divorce, 208 

Italy, adultery in, 68; cicisbeism, 

Japan, divorce in, 62, 118, 212, 213; 
adultery, 62, 67; temporary mar- 
riage, 1 1 8; concubinage, 193; 
parents' influence on their chil- 
dren's divorce, 213; sodomy, 

Jealousy, sexual. See Sexual jeal- 

Jewish law, divorce according to, 62, 
63, 21 1 ; its attitude towards 
adultery, 63 

Jews, desire for offspring among, 22; 
mercenary marriages, 34; mar- 
riages between Christians and, 84; 
polygyny, 172 

Kings, concubinage among modern, 
195, 196; marriages between 
brothers and sisters among, 256 

Kissing, considered sinful, 231 

Latin countries, paternal rights and 
filial duties in, 54; legal attitude 
towards homosexuality, 248, 253 

Love, sexual. See Sexual love 

matches, 52-54, 56 

Mammals, relations between the 
sexes and paternal care among, 6, 
7, 12, 13; absorbing passion for 
one among domesticated, 187 

Marital care and duties, 4-9 

instinct, the, 5-8, 29 

Marriage, the meaning and origin of, 
ch. i. 3-20; the essential elements 
in, ch. ii. 21-37. I55-I57 i?o; 
sources of much happiness, 36, 
37; prevalence of happiness and 
unhafcpiness in, 38-43; unhap- 
piness in, due to sexual malad- 
justment, 43-57; adultery and 
jealousy, ch. iv. 58-79; mental 
incompatibility of the spouses, 
80-85; lack of a common interest, 
80-83; social inequality, 83; lack 
of agreement on vital questions, 
84; incompatibility of tempera- 
ment, 85; disparity of age, 87, 88; 
economic circumstances, 88-90; 
temper, 92; connected with the 
emancipation of women, 92, 93, 

98; arising from unwanted preg- 
nancy, 95; from the presence of 
children, 95-98; outside one's 
own class prohibited, 83; between 
Jews and Christians, 84; between 
Protestants and Catholics, 84; of 
contrast, 85-87; health certificates 
before, 101, 102; consultation 
bureaus giving advice, 108; pre- 
dicted disappearance of, ch. viii. 
151-171, 264, 265; frequency and 
the age of, 153, 154; annulment, 
202, 203, 206, 207, 216. See 
Divorce, Economic circumstances, 
Exogamous rules, Husbands, 
Monogamy and polygamy, Poly- 
andry, Wedding-night, Wives 

Marriage, common-law, in the 
United States, 114, 115 

, companionate, 109-113 

, group-. See Group-marriage 

, temporary, 115-119 

, trial, 21, 28, 29, 54, 104-111, 113- 
116, 137, 138 

by purchase, 137, 140, 182, 185 

by service, 104, 105 

of convenience, 34-36, 53, 241 
Masturbation, 241-243, 260 
Maternal instinct, the, 5, 6, 164-166, 

169, 170, 264, 265; not incon- 
gruous with the custom of killing 
or exposing new-born infants, 
167-169. See Offspring 

Maternity hospitals, 126 

Matrilineal societies, the family 
consisting of parents and children 
in, 19; alleged freedom of love, 

Men, polygamous tendencies in, 
56, 59, 60, 116, 178, 183, 189, 196; 
the sexual instinct, 93, 94, 135, 
139, 141-145. See Chastity, p re- 

Menstruation, considered polluting, 

Merovingian kings, polygyny prac- 
tised by the, 172, 173 

Method of investigation, the, i, 2, 
264, 265 

Mexico, divorce in, 211 

Mohammedan law, divorce according 
to, 63, 117, 118 

Mohammedans, the art of love 
among, 44, 45; homosexuality, 
8 1, 243, 245 > 247; polygyny, 183, 
185, 192, 193; notion of sexual 
uncleanness, 229, 230; condem- 


nation of masturbation, 243; atti- 
tude towards bestiality, 243-245 

Monkeys, relations between the 
sexes and between parents and 
offspring, and other social rela- 
tions among, 6, 7, 12, 13; sexual 
season, 9-11; the sexual instinct 
dulled by long companionship, 
55; absorbing passion for one, 

Monogamous tendencies, in women, 
196, 197. See Love 

Monogamy and polygamy, ch. ix. 

Moral concepts, the, based on 
moral emotions, 233 

emotions, the, characteristics of, 
233, 234, 240, 255, 264 

judgments on sexual behaviour 
influenced by utilitarian considera- 
tions, 237-241, 245, 248, 251, 255, 
256; by moral tradition, 238, 239; 
by sentimental aversions, 239, 244, 
248, 252, 255-261 

resentment, at the bottom of the 
rules of custom and of all duties 
and rights, 8, 234; different ways 
in which it arises, 234-241 

tradition, 233-235, 238, 239 
Morality, sexual behaviour and, ch. 

xi. 228-263 

Mormons, polygyny advocated by 
the, 174 

Morocco, conjugal affection in, 30, 
31; polygyny, 185; opinions on 
masturbation, 243; on bestiality, 
244, 245; on homosexual inter- 
course, 245; sexual inversion, 251 

" Mother's aid " or " mother pen- 
sions ", 161 

New Guinea, homosexual practices 
in, 247 

Nilotic tribes, pre-nuptial inter- 
course among, 138 

Norway, divorce in, 211, 212; 
separation from bed and board, 

Nurseries, public, 129, 159-163 

Occupations of life, divided between 
the sexes, 33 

Offspring, care taken of the, among 
animals, 5-7, 12, 13; in mankind, 
7-9; desire for, and importance of, 
21-24, 26-29, 36, 105, 139, 170, 
183, 198. See Children 

Oneida Community, " complex mar- 
riage " practised by the, 174, 175 

Orang-utans, relations between the 
sexes and between parents and 
young, and other social relations 
among, 6; small number of 
young, 7; long period of infancy, 
7; sexual season, 9, n 

Orgasms, in men and women, 44, 45 

Parents, relations between children 
and, 36, 54, 95-9$, i57- l6 4> 210, 

213, 257 
Paternal authority, 4, 54, 98, 158 

care and duties, 4-9, 12, 13; in 
the case of illegitimate children, 
120, 126, 127, 238 

instinct, the, 5, 6, 8, 12, 166, 167, 
170, 264, 265; not incongruous 
with the custom of killing or 
exposing new-born infants, 167- 
169. See Offspring 

Pederasty. See Homosexuality 

Persia, temporary marriage in, 117; 
polygyny, 192 

Philip of Hesse, bigamy of, 173 

Pollutions, nightly, of virgins, 146; 
regarded as sinful, 232 

Polyandry, 16, 17, 175, 177, 178, 

Polygamous tendencies, in men, 56, 
59, 60, 116, 178, 183, 188, 189, 
196; in women, 178, 189, 197- 
200. See Sexual variety 

Polygamy, monogamy and, ch. ix. 

Polygyny, ch. ix. 172-201; com- 
bination of polyandry with, 16, 17, 

J 75 
Portugal, divorce in, 211; separation 

from bed and board, 211 

Pregnancy, supposed to be facili- 
tated by excitement, 70; married 
people's fear of, or complications 
arising from, unwanted, 95; 
coitus during, 181, 182 

Primitive man, the family of parents 
and children with, 7, 19; and 
anthropoids evolved from a 
common type, 7; social conditions 
of, 7, 8; sexual season with, 9 

Procreation, an essential element in 
marriage, 21-29, 36, 37, 105; 
sexual intercourse considered 
justifiable only as a means of, 24, 
25, 238 

Promiscuity, hypothesis of a primi- 



tive state of, 14-17; may be un- 
favourable to fecundity, 76 

Property, private, 157, 164, 174 

Prostitutes and prostitution, 35, 123, 
124, 126, 132, 141, 148, 175, 176, 
178, 188, 197, 241; in temples, 245 

Protestants, marriages between Cath- 
olics and, 84. See Reformers 

Prussia, divorce in, 112, 208, 209 

Rajputs, infanticide among the, 169 

Rape, 132, 140, 237 

Reformers, the, attitudes towards 
divorce among, 64, 173, 204, 208; 
attitude towards polygyny of some 
of, 173 

Religion, marriage between persons 
of different, 84 

Remarriage, 56, 152, 153, 174, 222 

Resentment, disinterested, arising in 
different ways, 234-237; leading 
to moral judgments, 237-241. 
See Moral resentment 

Rome, ancient, divorce in, 63, 207, 
208; adultery, 67-70; concu- 
binage, 1 20, 194; views on 
amours with courtesans, 131, 
132; exposure of infants, 168; 
polygyny prohibited, 194; peder- 
asty, 248 

Rumania, divorce in, 210, 211 

Russia, the economic aspect of 
marriage in, 4; answers to 
questionnaires given by female 
students, 42, 43, 47, 61, 62, 145, 
196-198, 243; matrimonial happi- 
ness, 42, 43; divorce, 43, 61, 62, 
151, 202, 212, 222, 223; adultery, 
61, 62, 69, 197, 198; legislation 
referring to working women who 
become mothers, 90; contra- 
ception and abortion, 99; no 
illegitimacy of birth, 129; free 
love, 1135; " polyandric " women, 
147,200; State nurseries, 162-164; 
delinquencies of children, 163; 
attitude towards private property, 
164; polygyny not permitted, 178; 
masturbation, 243; legal attitude 
towards homosexuality, 248, 249; 
prohibition of incestuous mar- 
riages, 261 

Scandinavians, ancient, killing or 
exposure of infants among the, 
169; sodomy, 247 

Scotland, " hand-fasting ' in, 105; 
punishment for fornication, 131 

Semites, ancient, importance at- 
tached to offspring among, 22 

Separation from bed and board, 66, 

114, 2O5, 2O8, 211, 212, 217, 222, 

22 3 

Sexes, occupations of life divided 
between the, 33; numerical pro- 
portion of, 134, 178-181, 183, 184, 

Sexual behaviour and morality, ch. 
xi. 228-263 

communism, 17-19. See Group- 
marriage, Promiscuity 

desire, the, considered sinful in 
the unmarried, 231 

frigidity of women, 43, 44, 47, 72 

ignorance, of husbands, 43-48; 
of wives, 48-50 

instinct, the, stimulated by 
personal appearance and by emo- 
tional, moral, and intellectual 
qualities, 51, 52; by novelty and 
dulled by long familiarity, which 
may lead to sexual aversion, 54- 
57, 86, 256-261; stimulated by 
contrast, 85-87; in men and 
women, 93, 94, 135, 139, 141, 150, 
178, 1 88, 189, 196-199. See Sex- 
ual love, Sexual variety 

instruction and enlightenment, 50, 


intercourse, an essential element 
in marriage, 3, 21, 36; Christian 
and other religious views on, 23, 
24, 228-232; considered justifi- 
able only as a means of procreation, 
24,25,238; its mfluen "c on health, 
36, 125; refusal of, a ground of 
divorce, 205, 206 

inversion, 251-255, 260. See 

jealousy, 16, 73-78, 97, 98, 139, 
156, 176, 178, 179, 184, 185 

love, transfusion of spiritual and 
bodily elements in, 31-33, 36, 57, 
143-145, 147, 148, 155, 156, 170, 
190-192, 197; not necessarily 
aiming at the supreme satisfaction 
of the sexual impulse, 32, 33, 144; 
considered the proper motive or 
only justifiable basis for marriage, 
33-35, 53, 241; the art of, better 
understood in the East than in 
the West, 44, 45; the absorbing 
character of, 186-188; of several 


individuals simultaneously, 189, 
190, 196. See Conjugal affection, 
Free love, Sexual instinct 
Sexual maladjustment in marriage, 


"safety valves", 125, 126 

season, with monkeys, 9-11; 
with primitive man, 9; the 
author's theory of the origin of 
the, 12 

shame, 228, 232 

uncleanness, notion of, 228-232 

variety, taste for, 14, 54-57, 60, 
174, 175, 178, 183, 187-189, 192, 
197, 199 

Sheep, the maternal instinct in, 165 

Siam, divorce in, 213 

Slavs, ancient, polygyny among the, 


Socialist writers, primeval sexual 
communism referred to by, 19; 
attitudes towards free love among, 
*35> J 57; towards marriage and 
the family, 157, 158 

Society Islanders, infanticide among 
the, 168, 169 

Sodomy. See Homosexuality 

South Carolina, divorce prohibited 
in, 121, 204; concubinage, 121, 

South Sea Islanders, infanticide 
among the, 169 

Spain, adultery in, 68; clerical 
concubinage, 121 

Suicide, caused by fear of polygyny, 
185; by disappointed love, 187 

Sweden, economic equality between 
the parties at the conclusion of a 
marriage among the peasants in, 
34; prevalence of matrimonial 
unhappiness, 38, 39; extra- 
domestic vocation of wives, 91; 
separation from bed and board, 
114, 212, 223; divorce, 114, 119, 
212, 223; incest, 260 

Switzerland, divorce in, 37, 224 

Teutonic peoples, night-courting 
customs among, 138 

, ancient, divorce among, 64, 208; 
adultery, 64, 67; treatment of 
illegitimate children, 128; rape 
hardly severed from abduction, 
140; polygyny, 195 

Tibet, polyandry and group-mar- 
riage in, 1 6, 17; temporary mar- 
riage, 118 

Trobriand Islanders (Melanesia), free 
love among the, 136; homosexual 
practices, 247 

United States, the, answers to ques- 
tionnaires relating to sex given 
in, 24-27, 40, 41, 47-5i> 56-58, 
85, 87-90, 92, 95-98, 100, 107, 
124, 125, 133, 134, 153, 182, 
189, 198, 242, 243, 253, 254; 
contraception, 25, 26, 112, 113; 
divorce, 36, 37, 39, 41, 61, 82, 
88, 89, 1 1 8, 119, 151, 152, 204- 
206, 211, 215, 216; matrimonial 
happiness, 39-42; marriage be- 
tween college students, 41, 42, 82; 
sexual ignorance among girls, 49; 
sexual instruction, 50; adultery, 
58, 59, 61, 69, 198; concubinage 
with, or lust for, negro women, 
86; satisfaction in marriage in- 
fluenced by the relative age of 
the spouses, 87, 88; by economic 
circumstances, 88, 89; by extra- 
domestic vocation of the wife, 
90; relations between parents 
and children, 96-98; sexual inter- 
course among betrothed couples, 
106; free love, 106, 107, 124, 125, 
I 33" I 35J common-law marriage, 
114, 115; illegitimate childbirth 
and children, 126-128; maternity 
hospitals, 126; remarriage, 152, 
153; the marriage-rate and the 
age at which people marry, 153, 
154; institutional bringing up 
of children, 159-161; " mother's 
aid", 161; separation from bed 
and board, 204; masturbation, 
242, 243; homosexuality, 248, 
249, 253, 254 

Utilitarian considerations, influen- 
cing moral judgments on sexual 
behaviour, 237-241, 245, 2^48, 251, 
255. 256, 264, 265 

Utilitarianism, the psychological 
origin of, 237 

Variety, taste for sexual. See Sexual 

Vedic people, conjugal affection 

among the, 30; polygyny, 185; 

notion of sexual uncleanness, 228, 

Venereal disease, 126, 178, 206, 237, 

Virginity, demand for, in the bride, 



131-142, 146-148; Christian en- 
thusiasm for, 230, 231. See 

Wales, ancient, trial unions in, 105; 
polygyny not allowed, 195; di- 
vorce, 208 

Wedding-night, the, 46-48 

Wives, frigidity of, 43, 44, 47, 72; 
sexual ignorance, 48-50; adultery 
committed by, ch. iv. 58-79 
passim', more sensitive about 
domestic finances than husbands, 
88, 89; earning income outside 
the home, 89-91; position of, in 
the savage world, 185, 186 

, community of. See Group- 

Women, sexual frigidity of, 43, 44, 
X 43; orgasm in, 44, 45; want to 

be wooed, 45, 46; rhythm of the 
sexual desire in, 48; sexual 
ignorance of, 48-50; the taste for 
sexual variety in, 56; the emanci- 
pation of, a cause of matrimonial 
discord, 92, 93, 98; of divorce, 
152; the sexual instinct in, 93, 94, 
135. *39, 141-150, i7 8 188, 189, 
196-199; coyness and modesty of, 
139, 149; men's regard for the 
feelings of, 185, 186, 194; position 
of, in the savage world, 185, 
1 86; regarded as unclean, 232; legal 
attitudes towards homosexual prac- 
tices committed by, 249, 250. See 

Zoroastrianism, importance attached 
to offspring by, 23; its horror 
of sodomy, 246 


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